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Cibc ^Iniversitv of Cb 
1C ib retries 


By the same Author : 

The Church in France, 1789-1848. 8s. 6d. 
The Church in France, 1848-1907. 125. 6d. 

The New Commandment. An enquiry into the social precept 
and practice of the Ancient Church. 6s. 

London: S.P.C.K. 




M.A., D.D. 







.f 56 

Krsf published, 1937 

^ "-, " " 



W. F. 



THE subject of Christian hymnody is so vast that any 
attempt to deal with it (as here) in a popular, practical 
and succinct way must necessarily approach it from a 
particular angle. It should therefore be made clear 
that the present book treats of it with special reference 
to the hymns of all ages and countries that are in use 
among English (and, more particularly, Anglican) 
Christians to-day. ; 

Within these limits the book aims at setting before the 
general reader the main results of scholarly research 
on the subject with which it deals. Its author can 
make no claim to be a researcher at first hand himself. 
But he has for many years taken a warm interest in the 
history and the use of hymns : and he has done his best to 
equip himself for his task by a diligent study of the best 
and latest authorities on its subj eel-matter, both English 
and foreign. The notes containing his references to these 
have been relegated to the end of the volume, so that the 
ordinary reader need not be distracted by them ; while at 
the same time those who would go deeper into the subject 
are given assistance towards doing so. The works to which 
he is chiefly indebted are set forth at the head of the notes 
in question : and to their writers, living and dead, the 
author here makes the grateful acknowledgments that are 

So far as individual hymns are concerned, the book 
takes as its basis the three hymn-books which at the 
present time are in most general use in the Church of 
England, viz. Hymns Ancient and Modern, the English Hymnal 



and Songs of Praise, together with the recently published 
Plainsong Hymn Book. These are on occasion referred to for 
brevity's sake as A.M., E.H., S.P. andP.H.B. respectively. 
In the case of hymn-numbers * denotes Hymns Ancient and 
Modern, ** the Plainsong Hymn Book, | the English Hymnal 
and J Songs of Praise. It may be added that up to the 
end of chapter iv references to Songs of Praise have not 
been inserted, for the reason that such of the famous 
hymns of earlier ages as appear in that book have in 
certain cases been so altered that the versions can hardly 
be said to represent the originals. 


Eastertide, 1937. 



Preface vii 

Introduction. Concerning Hymns in general . i 


Chap. I. The Early Church . . .11 

II. Hymns of the Eastern Church . 27 

III. Latin Hymnody .... 47 

IV. Latin Hymnody (continued] . . 68 

V. German Hymnody . . -99 

VI. The Metrical Psalters . . .123 

VII. English Hymnody up to the time of 

Watts 148 

VIII. The Methodist and Evangelical Move- 
ments . . . . 171 

IX. The Oxford Movement and After . 198 
X. New Ideas in the Twentieth Century 229 


XI. Towards a Policy . . . -249 

XII. Some Practical Counsels . / . . 260 

Notes ........ 271 




Appendix A. A brief note on Hymn-metres . 279 

B. A Table to illustrate the Develop- 
ment of the Hymnal Scheme of 
the English Mediaeval Breviaries . 281 

G. Office Hymns from "Neo-Gallican" 

Breviaries .... 286 

D. English Hymns in common use 

based on the Psalms . . .289 

Index of Subj eels . . . . . .291 

Index of Hymn-titles (English) .... 297 


Concerning Hymns in general 

" There is a style and manner suited to the composition of 
hymns which may be more successfully or at least more easily 
attained by a versifier than by a poet. They should be Hymns, 
not Odes, if designed for public worship and for the use of 
plain people. Perspicacity, simplicity and ease should be 
chiefly attended to : and the image and colouring of poetry, 
if admitted at all, should be indulged sparingly and with 
great judgment. The late Dr. Watts, many of whose hymns 
are admirable patterns in this species of writing, might, as a 
poet, have a right to say that it cost him labour to restrain 
his fire and to accommodate himself to the capacity of 
common readers." 

So wrote Gowper's friend, the Reverend John Newton, in 
his preface to the Olney Hymns, dated Feb. 15, 1779. His 
explanations were, by his own admission, largely made in 
self-defence to meet the possible charge that, unlike Dr. 
Watts, he was not a poet. But it is interesting to note that, 
over a century later, his view was echoed from the 
opposite side, so to speak by one whose poetic qualifica- 
tion even his most carping critic will not seriously deny. 
Not long before his death, Tennyson, in a conversation 
with Dr. Warren, President of Magdalen, remarked : "A 
good hymn is the most difficult thing in the world to write. 
In a good hymn you have to be commonplace and poetical. 
The moment you cease to be commonplace and put in any 
expression at all out of the common, it ceases to be a 

The two judgments recorded above will help to make 
clear the scope of the present book. It is a book on hymns, 
not on religious poetry. Many of the greatest examples of 
the poetic faculty at work on the loftiest subject of all will 


find no place in its pages for the simple reason that, 
though poetry, they are not hymns. On the other hand, 
the great bulk of the compositions that do concern us are 
hardly more than verse, and sometimes not even very 
good verse. They may have the appeal that comes from 
the sincere expression of deeply felt emotion : but the high 
imaginative flight that makes great poetry is not theirs 
and indeed they would be less suited for their purpose if it 
were. No hymn that has attained to world-wide fame and 
popularity bears the name of any poet of the first rank. 
The hymns that are classics in their own line are the work 
of men who have been notable for their piety rather than 
for their literary accomplishment. It may occasionally 
happen that a hymn-writer includes in his make-up a 
spark of the genuine poetic fire. This is specially true of 
one whom some would place at the head of all English 
hymn-writers Charles Wesley. But even in his case the 
poetic inspiration was very uncertain and spasmodic : and 
if his countless hymns sometimes contain real poetry it is 
more by accident than by design, for his aim was not 
literature but edification. When he showed himself a poet, 
it was simply because he could not help it. 

What then is a hymn in the sense, that is, in which 
we are mainly concerned with such things in the pages 
that follow ? 

Two elements in the required definition are. too obvious 
to need much comment. First, a hymn is concerned with 
the expression of religious feeling of some kind. St. 
Augustine's definition hymnus cantus est cum laude Dei, 
"a hymn is a song with praise of GOD" 2 is clearly too 
much restricted, at least for modern usage : for hymns ex- 
press many other moods of the soul besides praise. But 
whatever it be, the feeling expressed must be of a religious 
character : arid (seeing that our subjeclis Christian hymns) 
it must also be consonant with the kind of religious outlook 
associated with the Christian faith and pradice. 



Secondly, a hymn should be cast in a metrical or at 
least a rhythmic form. Prose passages may sometimes be 
described as "hymns", as e.g. when St. Paul's great out- 
pouring in i Cor. xiii. is called "a hymn in praise of love": 
but with such we cannot concern ourselves here.. The 
rhythmic structure of a hymn need not be cast in the strict 
mould of formal prosody, though in modern hymns it 
practically always is. But some rhythmic basis there must 
be, in a hymn as in a poem. 

To this extent, then, a hymn is the same as a religious 
poem. But we have already seen that for our present pur- 
pose the two need to be differentiated. This differentiation 
may be made (as Newton suggested) along two lines. 

i. First, a hymn is a religious poem that is "designed 
for public worship". This naturally includes the idea of its 
being sung to a musical setting. As St. Augustine says, a 
hymn is a "song" we may add, a communal song. Even 
those who do not actually join in singing it are regarded 
as associating themselves in mind and heart with what the 
singers sing for them. So, too, even those religious bodies 
which have been most hostile to the use of music in 
worship have made an exception in the case of hymns, or 
at least of metrical versions of the Biblical psalms. Thus 
the present book, while mainly concerned with the words 
of hymns, will hardly be able to avoid some consideration 
of the tunes to which they are set. It must be remarked, 
however, that when we speak of a hymn as "designed for 
public worship", we mean "designed" only in the sense of 
"adapted" not necessarily that it was written, at least 
primarily, for such a purpose. The Jewish Psalter, in the 
form in which we have it, is a collection of sacred lyrics for 
liturgical use "the hymn-book of the Second Temple", 
it has been called. But this does not mean that all the 
psalms that compose it, or indeed more than a minority, 
were written with a view to such use. Many of the most 
beautiful and poignant of them are obviously the expres- 



sion of some intensely personal and individual emotion, 
written in an innermost chamber for no human eye save 
the writer's. "In the Psalms", says Dean Church, "we see 
the soul in the secret of its workings loving, hoping, 
fearing, despairing, exulting, repenting, aspiring". 3 

But such emotions are, in a greater or less degree, the 
common property of mankind ; though only a few can give 
them adequate verbal expression. Thus it was only natural 
that these classic voicings of a universal experience should 
be laid hold of eagerly by those who could feel, but could 
not utter their feeling : and, inasmuch as the emotions in 
question are the stuff and staple of man's religious life, 
that these psalms, originally written by one man for him- 
self, should become part of the public worship of the 
Jewish and afterwards of the Christian Church. In the 
same way many of the most famous hymns were written 
to express the writer's religious mood of the moment : .and 
indeed to not a few of them are attached stories, true or 
legendary, concerning the circumstances that inspired 
them. It would be too much to say that there was never an 
idea in the writer's mind of their being sung in public : for 
the individualistic type of religion fostered e.g. by the 
Methodist and Evangelical Revivals favoured this per- 
sonal type of hymn. But before such lyrics can come pro- 
perly within the category of "hymns", they must have 
proved in practice their suitability for communal use. 

The case is otherwise, of course, with hymns specifically 
written for use in public worship : but, rather oddly, the 
most popular hymns are not usually of this type, nor are 
they very easy in any case to find in large numbers. It is a 
valid criticism of most hymn-books that "I" hymns are 
far too numerous. But the fault is less that of the compilers 
than of those who write and (still more) of those who sing 

2. Secondly, a hymn (at least if it is to be of practical 
value) must be "designed for the use of plain people". 



It would be too much to say that this description is applic- 
able without exception to all the hymns of which we are 
to speak. The later Greek hymns were highly elaborate 
compositions designed for the edification of a religious 
elite rather than of the multitude. Again, in the West, as 
the languages of modern Europe developed and Latin 
ceased to be in common use, the Office Hymns and 
Sequences can have conveyed little to the ordinary wor- 
shipper, who even in the Middle Ages successfully vindi- 
cated his right (though within strict limits) to express his 
devotion in vernacular canticles that he could understand. 
But so far as our own current use of hymns is concerned, 
the need of simplicity and general intelligibility cannot be 
ignored. The Christian Church is a democratic body in 
which the "foolish" are of not less account than the 
"wise". The former, too, are by far the more numerous. 
As .Dr. Neale says, "Church hymns must be the life- 
expression of all hearts." 4 The desire of our reformers to 
raise the level of the hymns we sing is a very laudable one : 
and it is obvious that we must be exceedingly chary about 
introducing into our hymn-books material that we know 
to be of slight literary or musical value simply because it 
is popular. It may also be conceded that as education ad- 
vances even an average congregation may come to enjoy 
singing hymns of a poetic quality that is at present "above 
their heads". But a hymn-book that is nothing more than 
an anthology of religious poetry wedded to tunes in an 
elaborate and unfamiliar idiom defeats its own ends. The 
ideal hymn is harmonious and dignified in its language 
and moves gracefully in its prosody : but it is at the same 
time simple and free from all elaboration both of thought 
and expression such a hymn as 'O GOD, our help in 
ages past.' Here we have no word or image that even the 
simplest can fail to understand. Yet the total effe6l is of a 
sober magnificence that makes the hymn worthy of the 
greatest and most moving occasions. 



It is important, too, that not only the language and 
imagery of a hymn but also its sentiment should be suited 
to the ordinary worshipper. Nothing is more pernicious 
than to put on the lips of people phrases that they do not 
and cannot mean. It is a real objection to many Victorian 
hymns and even more to many of the hymns of the 
Methodist Revival that they express sentiments which, 
however sincere in those who wrote them, are not sincere 
when voiced secondhand by the ordinary Churchgoer. 
But the same objection applies to many religious poems 
which some would substitute for the "old favourites". 
Emily Bronte's superb 'No coward soul is mine' is just as 
inappropriate to the average "man in the pew" as 'O 
Paradise, O Paradise' : and the argument against its use 
as a hymn cannot be evaded by pleading its literary excel- 
lence. It is possible to make out a case for a sparing use of 
such things on the ground that they provide people with 
an ideal to aim at or at least to admire. But we must 
always be on our guard against the insincerity which is 
the greatest enemy of real religion. 

At the same time it should not be forgotten that even 
"ordinary" people vary widely in their temperament and 
circumstances, and also that every individual may at 
times have to pass through experiences that set him apart 
from the mass of his fellows. For example, hymns in pre- 
paration for death may be very unreal on the lips of the 
young and healthy. Yet there are circumstances in which 
such hymns may be most appropriate, both for communal 
and even more for private use. To old people who have 
been confined to the house for years their hymn-book may 
mean a great deal ; for it is usually the only book of sacred 
verse which they possess. Again, it is not unusual to hear a 
hymn like Bonar's 'Thy way, not mine, O Lord' con- 
demned as "defeatist". Yet, after all, it reflects the earthly 
lot of a large number of our fellow human-beings, and 
when sung by a gathering of tired and worn working-class 



mothers may have an intense pathos. If, however, hymns 
with a particular appeal of this kind are included in a 
hymnal, the preface should make it clear that its contents 
are not all suitable for use at the ordinary Sunday 

A word may be added here concerning the scope and 
purpose of the present book. Its treatment of its subjects is 
primarily historical, seeking to give an account of the de- 
velopment of Christian hymnody throughout the ages 
not, of course, a complete account, but one that keeps 
specially in view those writers and those hymns of all 
periods which figure in the hymnals in use among 
English Ghurchpeople (and, indeed, in those of English 
Christians generally) to-day. Even so, the field is so 
enormous that we shall often be compelled to confine 
ourselves to the best-known names in the various depart- 
ments of our study and to their most conspicuous 
productions. But it is hoped that the reader will at least 
obtain a general conspectus of a large subject which 
will help him to a more intelligent and interested 
participation in the hymns that he sings. 

This, however, is not all. Our aim is in part practical 
not only to inform but also to guide. Of all the parts of 
Christian worship the hymns make the widest popular 
appeal. But for that very reason it is important that we 
should give careful attention to the question of the hymns 
that we are to use. We shall deal with this question further 
at the end of the book. For the present it is sufficient to 
point out that it can only be dealt with properly against a 
background of knowledge knowledge, first, of the 
history and range of Christian hymnody and, secondly, 
of the criteria that should be applied in judging individual 
hymns. It is the author's modest hope that he may do a 
little to help his readers to better their equipment in both 




IN every race and age religious emotion has found 
utterance in music and song. This was even more than 
usually to be expected in the case of a religion so en- 
thusiastic, and often even ecstatic, as we know the Christi- 
anity of the first age to have been. As Dr. Frere has said, 
"The Christian Church started on its way singing." 5 But 
when we go on/to ask what actually were the songs it sang, 
we confront a question to which it is not easy to give a 
satisfactory answer. 


On one point at least we may speak with assurance. St. 
Paul in a well-known passage bids the Ephesians "speak 
to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" 
(Eph. v. 19 ; cf. Col. iii. 16). It is natural to assume that 
on the lips of a Jew the word "psalms" bears its customary 
meaning ; though it would hardly be safe to treat this as 
certain. But at least there can be no doubt as to the promi- 
nent and indeed primary place which the Jewish psalter 
held in the song of the youthful Church, as in that of all 
Christian ages since. That Church had its roots deep in 
the Jewish past from which it arose : and along with the 
other Scriptures of the Old Covenant it took over its sacred 
song as well. To the first disciples, as to their Master, the 
Psalms were a treasure of inestimable worth that was 
known by heart. No doubt He and they would often repeat 
them together : and the "hymn" which they sang before 
leaving the Upper Chamber for Gethsemane (St. Mark 
xiv. 26) was almost certainly the Hallel, consisting of 



Pss. cxii.-cxviii. The Psalms, too, formed an integral part of 
the worship of those synagogues of the Diaspora through 
which the Gospel was first spread outside Palestine. Thus 
through the Christians of Jewish race they would become 
known (in the Greek translations) to their fellows who - 
were drawn from among the Gentiles : and when, in conse- 
quence of the split between the Church and the Syna- 
gogue, the former began to organize a worship entirely its 
own, it was in the Psalms that the faith and devotion of its 
members continued to find expression. So, too, at a later 
date, the due recitation of the Psalter was one of the two 
main objects with which the "Divine Office" came into 
existence, the other being the regular reading of Holy 
Scripture. 6 

It would appear, further, that along with the words of 
the Psalms the Christian Church took over from the 
Jewish the manner of their musical performance. The 
origin of the ancient music of the Church called "plain- 
song" is a question of extreme obscurity : and our present 
state of knowledge does not allow us to say with certainty 
whether or not it is ultimately derived from the "cantilla- 
tion" practised in the Temple and synagogues. But how- 
ever it may be with the music itself, there is no doubt 
that both the earlier and the later methods of chanting the 
psalms practised in the Christian Church had Jewish ante- 
cedents. 7 The former method is called "responsorial" and 
consists of a solo recitation by the precentor interspersed 
with occasional responses by the choir or congregation. 
The latter, the "antiphonal" method (traditionally said to 
have been originated by St. Ignatius at Antioch, but more 
probably introduced there in the fourth century and 
thence rapidly extended over both East and West), con- 
sists in the chanting of the verses by two choirs alternately. 
Both these types of psalmody were pradised by the Jews 
indeed, the structure of some of the psalms clearly pre- 
supposes the one or the other. 



The Jewish antecedents of Christianity are nowhere 
more in evidence than in the earliest of its sacred lyrics 
those to be found in the opening chapters of St. Luke's 
Gospel. These ("the Messianic Psalms of the New 
Testament," as they have been called) viz. the Magnificat, 
Benediftus and Nunc dimittis partake of the strongly 
Hebraic character of the whole Gospel of the Infancy in 
which they are embedded. The Magnificat bears a close 
resemblance to the Song of Hannah in i Sam. i. : and they 
may all have been originally composed in Aramaic. But 
they stand by themselves ; and, in literary form at least, 
represent rather the close of an old era than the beginning 
of a new. ' It is possible that the Jewish-Christiarfcom- 
munities of Palestine had their religious lyrics similarly 
framed on the model of the Jewish. Psalms. But as the 
main current of the Christian propaganda advanced into 
the world of the Mediterranean, it moved further away 
from its Hebrew origins and became more and more im- 
pregnated with Hellenic elements. Thus it would be only 
natural that the sacred song of the Gentile churches should 
reflect this development. Yet even so the Biblical influence 
was unescapable: and, here most of all, the Oriental 
element would seem to have always dominated the Greek. 
It is true that the old Hellenic religion had its "hymns" 
no less than the religion of Israel. The. so-called "Hymns 
of Homer" were already old in the time of Thucydides : 
and later centuries witnessed the production of the Hymns 
of Callimachus (III rd century B.C.), the famous Hymn to 
%eus of the Stoic Cleanthes (quoted by St. Paul on Mars' 
Hill) as well as the hymns associated with the Orphic 
mysteries. But we have no reason to suppose that these 
products of Paganism had any influence on the hymnody 
of the Christian Church. It is possible, again, that the 
Graeco-Asiatic mystery-religions that were so widespread 
and so influential in the Roman Empire during the first 
centuries of Christianity may have affected its sacred song, 


as well as other departments of its life. But we have no 
material evidence of this : and in any case the character of 
these religions was rather Oriental than Greek. As Lord 
Selborne said, "For the origin and idea of Christian 
hymnody we must look, not to Gentile, but to Hebrew' 
sources." 8 Yet a religion possessed by so furious a vitality 
as was primitive Christianity was bound to find fresh 
modes of expression for its love and worship, and, what- 
ever its debt to the old, to blossom forth also into the new. 


Of what nature then were the "hymns and spiritual 
songs" of which St. Paul speaks the songs which the 
Church used in addition to the psalms bequeathed to it 
by Israel and which expressed its new environment and 
outlook ? Here we are largely in the region of surmise. 
The Church quickly began to create for itself a new 
authoritative literature of its own, by the side of what it 
had inherited from Judaism. But in this literature as we 
possess it poetry is not included, except in an indirect and 
incidental way. However, it seems not impossible to 
extraft a certain amount of material on which conjecture 
may be based. 

It may be well at the outset to warn the reader who is 
unfamiliar with the subject that, neither now nor for a 
long time to come, must he expecl to find much resem- 
blance between a "hymn" and the kind of composition that 
he is wont to associate with the name. For us a hymn is a 
poem written in clearly marked "verses" of definite 
metrical structure and adorned to a greater or less extent 
by regularly recurring rhymes. But it was several centuries 
before hymns came to assume this shape anywhere ; and 
in a large part of the Christian Church they never assumed 
it at all. The early Christian hymns are rather of the 
nature of rhythmic and poetical prose : and even when, in 



Greek-speaking countries at a considerably later date, a 
quasi-metrical scheme was evolved for such things, it bore 
no resemblance to what the modern Englishman would 
call "poetry". 

With this caveat, we may begin by noting the fairly 
general agreement among scholars that in certain rhyth- 
mically phrased passages of St. Paul's Epistles we have 
what are probably quotations from early Christian hymns. 
The clearest instance is found in Eph. v. 14 : "Awake, 
thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ 
shall give thee light." Others are i Tim. iii. 16, i Tim. vi. 
15-16 and the other "faithful sayings" in the Pastoral 
Epistles (i Tim. i. 15, 2 Tim. ii. 11-13). Again, in the 
description of the heavenly worship in the Apocalypse we 
find more than one lyrical outpouring of praise and adora- 
tion set upon the lips of the angels and the redeemed. Such 
are the "Holy, holy, holy" and "Worthy art Thou" in 
Rev. iv. 8, 1 1, and, the "Worthy is the Lamb" in Rev. v. 9, 
with the "Blessing and glory and honour and power" that 
follows. It is not unreasonable to suppose that in these 
''hymns" we have a reflection of the liturgical language 
familiar to the ears of worshippers on earth : a language 
which, if this be the case, was full of echoes of the Old 
Testament. Conversely, these songs, consecrated by their 
setting and by the universal reverence accorded to the 
book in which they appear, must have had a potent in- 
fluence on the course of liturgical development in the 
future. They are, as Dr. Burn has said, "the types of future 
hymnody". 9 

In trying to visualize the worship in which such "hymns 
and spiritual songs" played a part, we must beware of 
postulating any such rigidly fixed liturgical formulae as 
came to be the rule at a later date. We know that in the 
earliest days the custom of "tongue-speaking" introduced 
an anarchic element into the Church's worship that caused 
it to be frowned upon by St. Paul and finally to fall into 


desuetude. And, even when this had taken place, the high 
honour paid to the "prophet" gave wide scope for the 
personal inspiration of the individual. Such is the situation 
portrayed in the Didache, in which we seem to have a 
picture of a Church-life that by the time the book was 
written had become mostly a thing of the past, but still 
survived in the more remote parts of the Church. 10 The 
striking formulae for the thanksgivings over the bread and 
wine ( 9) and the thanksgiving after communion ( 10) 
may be taken as specimens of the way in which the 
prophets were in the habit of fulfilling their task in cele- 
brating the Eucharist. In all these the rhythmical and 
imaginative quality associated with poetry is clearly 
marked : and the last is couched in the form of three 
definite strophes, each ending with the same conclusion. 
It may be roughly translated as follows : 

We give thanks to Thee, Holy Father, 

for Thy holy name which Thou hast made to tabernacle 

in our hearts 

and for the knowledge and faith and immortality 
which Thou hast made known unto us through Jesus 

Thy Son ; 
To Thee be glory for ever and ever. 

Thou, LORD Almighty, hast created all things for Thy Name's 


and hast given food and drink to men for their enjoyment, 
that they might give thanks unto Thee ; 
but on us Thou hast bestowed spiritual food and drink 

and eternal life through Thy Son : 
Above all we give thanks to Thee because Thou art 

mighty ; 
To Thee be glory for ever and ever. 

Remember, O LORD, Thy Church 

to deliver it from all evil and to perfect it in Thy love. 
Sanclify it and gather it together from the four winds into 

Thy kingdom 
which Thou hast prepared for it. 

For thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever. 



Let grace come and let this world pass away. 

Hosanna to the GOD of David. 
If any be holy, let him come : if any be not, let him repent. 



"Here," says Dom Leclercq, "we have the rudiments of 
rhythmical prayer in the first century : and if these prayers 
are not hymns in the sense that the word has assumed in 
liturgical language, they are, we may say, the sources and 
models of Christian hymnography." n 

Nor did this rhythmical style of prayer cease when the 
"charismatic" ministry gave way to a localized and official 
one. It is certain that down to the third century a wide 
liberty of improvization was left to the celebrant. In 
Justin Martyr's account of the Liturgy in his time (c. 150) 
we are expressly told that the President offered prayer "to 
the best of his power". 12 But such improvizations tended 
to assume a distinctive "liturgical" style that marked them 
off from other and less sacred utterances. In the days of 
transition "the bishops" (to quote Dom Leclercq again) 
"must have regarded it as a point of honour not to impro- 
vize with less abundance and facility than the prophets 
who were hierarchically inferior to them". 13 Thus the 
tendency to a rhythmic and poetic phraseology (an easy 
matter on Greek lips) was maintained. It is generally 
agreed that in the long and beautiful intercession in chaps. 
59-61 of Clement of Rome's Epistle to the Corinthians 
(c. 96) wehavean exampleofsuch "Eucharistic prayer". 14 
The same rhythmical effe6l is to be seen in certain grandly 
phrased passages in the glorious Epistle to Diognetus 
( 7 3 9 3 n 3 I2 )> of which a brief citation may serve as a 
specimen : 

He (i.e. the Word of GOD) is the Eternal, Who to-day is 

reckoned a Son, 
Through Whom the Church is made rich 


And grace is unfolded and multiplied in the saints, 

giving understanding, 

revealing mysteries, 

proclaiming times, 

rejoicing in the faithful, 

bestowing gifts on them that seek, 
to whom the pledges of faith are not broken 
nor the decrees of the fathers transgressed. 

In the offering of such prayer the congregation was not 
content simply to "stand and wait", but would associate 
itself with the action of the celebrant by various forms of 
response. It is quite possible that the prayer of St. 
Clement just mentioned was not a simple monologue, but 
was rather of the nature of a litany a form which we 
know to have been already employed in pagan worship 
and which has an obvious psychological value in pro- 
ducing a cumulative emotional effect. 15 Each clause of the 
long intercession would be said first by the celebrant and 
then repeated by the congregation after him. Or the faith- 
ful might intervene by means of the method of "acclama- 
tion" (i.e. the repetition of brief liturgical formulae again 
and again) , of which we catch echoes in the Apocalypse 
and which still survives in the Eastern Church. 16 "The 
early Christians," as Dom Cabrol has pointed out, "loved 
these formulae and used them as an expression of greetingj 
a token of union, a sign of recognition, almost as a pass- 
word". 17 Such cries as 'Amen', 'Maranatha', 'Hosanna', 
'Alleluia' and 'Kyrie eleison' would punctuate the course 
of the rite : or the congregation would make its contribu- 
tion in the shape of a brief familiar refrain. In the staccato 
clauses of the final lines of the Didache thanksgiving 
quoted above we seem to hear these acclamations piling 
up in a swelling crescendo of fervour. 

This use of the "refrain" was already familiar in some of 
the psalms of the Old Testament : and we have alluded 
to the further development of it in the earliest type 
of psalmody practised in the Christian Church, viz. the 



so-called cantus responsorius, in which during the reading of 
a psalm the congregation would intervene from time to 
time with an identical response called the hjpopsalma 
"the simplest form of Christian prose hymnography in the 
Greek language". 18 It is further illustrated by one of the 
earliest Christian hymns to have come down to us in 
extenso the poem that closes the Banquet of the Ten 
Virgins by Methodius (see below, p. 26), in which each 
stanza is followed by a short refrain called UTTCIKOTJ. It is 
likely that some of these "refrains" have survived in the 
shorter of the early Christian hymns mentioned in the last 
section of this chapter. 

In addition to these "acclamations" we have abundant 
grounds for believing that the congregation would some- 
times contribute more extended "hymns" on their own 
account. In early Christianity the truth that "the Spirit 
is given to every man to profit withal" was strongly empha- 
sized : and thus those who had the poetic gift would find a 
warm welcome awaiting the products of their inspiration, 
which would be gladly taken over and used by their 
fellow- worshippers. St. Paul, speaking to the Corinthians 
concerning individual contributions to their common 
worship, says : "When ye come together, each one hath a 
psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, 
hath an interpretation" (i Cor. xiv. 26). It is from 
"hymns" of this sort which had attained to a specially 
wide currency that the quotations in the Apostle's letters 
mentioned above are presumably taken. It may even be 
that the very abundance in which such hymns were pro- 
duced, and the consequent rapidity with which the earlier 
ones tended to be supplanted by others, explain (together 
with their inconspicuous origin) their general failure to 
survive. We have clear evidence that in the second and 
third centuries these psalmi idiotici or private psalms 
existed in large numbers. 1 9 Describing the Christian Agape 
(or "Love-feast") Tertullian (c. 200) says : "Each man is 


stirred to sing songs publicly to GOD either from the Holy 
Scriptures or of his own invention according to his 
ability." 20 An interesting passage in the Church historian 
Eusebius gives a quotation from an anonymous contro- 
versial work written against the second-century heretic 
Artemon, in which the author speaks of "psalms and odes 
such as from the beginning were written by believers, 
hymns to the Christ, the Word of GOD, calling Him 
Goo". 21 Another passage in Eusebius tells of Nepos, an 
Egyptian bishop (apparently of the third century), as the 
author of an "abundant psalmody" that won wide accept- 
ance. 22 The epithet idiotici would seem to imply that such 
"psalms" or hymns were originally produced for purposes 
of private devotion. It was of such use that St. Paul was 
apparently thinking when he gave his admonition to the 
Ephesians even as he and Silas in prison at Philippi are 
described as "praying and singing hymns unto GOD" 
(Ads xvi. 25). But there would be nothing surprising in 
their forcing their way into public worship, at least locally 
especially in an age when the forms of. worship were 
still fluid. We can readily believe that there was objection 
to their finding a home within the sacred enclosure of the 
Eucharist : and, indeed, Justin Martyr in his description 
makes no mention of either psalms or hymns as a part of 
that service. But there would be other occasions for their 
use : and it was in this fashion, we may presume, that, by 
the operation of the principle of "the survival of fittest", 
a few of them finally won their way to universal use and 
became a permanent part of Christian worship. 

In this connection we may note the much-debated 
passage in Pliny's Letter to Trajan (c. 105), in which, 
describing the habits of the Christians in his province of 
Bithynia, he speaks of them as "assembling together early 
in the morning and singing by turns (invicem) a song to 
Christ as a god". 23 In this "song" some have seen a 
Messianic psalm : others (including the great French 



scholar Duchesne) have preferred a primitive form of the 
Morning Hymn that was to develop later into the Gloria 
in excelsis. Z4: Others, again, would hold that the word used 
for "song" (carmen) is employed in its technical sense of 
"incantation" and refers to the priest's consecration of the 
Eucharist, to which the people made response. But all this 
must remain a matter of speculation in view of the vague- 
ness both of the terms used and of Pliny's knowledge of the 

Besides their obvious value in voicing and stimulating 
devotion, a second motive for the use of hymns, which was 
to have immense importance again and again in later 
ages, would seem to have become operative to some extent 
at a very early date. The heretical seds quickly dis- 
covered the value of poetry as a means of disseminating 
their doclrine among the masses : for poetry is at once 
attractive in itself and easy to remember, especially when 
it is set to tunes of a popular kind. We know from Ter- 
tullian that the Gnostics Marcion and Valentinus resorted 
to this device in the middle of the second century : 25 and 
a generation later the Syrian Gnostics also adopted it with 
great success, as we shall see. Nor did the Church disdain 
to meet the challenge in a similar way. Irenaeus (c. 180) 
tells us how "a presbyter" whom he had known in his 
youthful days at Ephesus had taught him a short 
poem directed against the Gnostic Markos. 26 Probably, 
too, many ofthepsalmi idiotici were written with a similar 
purpose. Human nature being what it is, it was only to be 
expeded that the heretics should object to their own 
weapon being thus turned against themselves. Thus Paul 
of Samosata, the heretical Bishop of Antioch (260-70), 
suppressed "the psalms which were sung there in honour 
of our Lord Jesus Christ" on the ground that "they were 
new and the work of new men" 27 a proof, incidentally, 
that by this time in the great city of Antioch at any rate 
the use of non-scriptural hymns was an established 



custom. For this suppression (among other offences) the 
bishops of his province condemned and deposed him 
(269) ; thus giving an implicit sanction to the practice that 
he had withstood. In the next century, as we shall see, the 
Arian controversy was to give it wide extension on both 
sides of the fray. 


The account here given of the hymnody of the pre- 
Constantinian Church is an attempt to weave into a co- 
herent whole the scattered and often obscure references to 
the subject found in the literature of the period. It is neces- 
sarily therefore incomplete and contains a considerable 
element of speculation and surmise. From these quick- 
sands the reader may turn with relief to a brief considera- 
tion of those hymns that have adually come down to us 
to which an early if not primitive date may be safely 
assigned. Yet even here he will not immediately find the 
ground firm under his feet. It has been claimed that in the 
recently discovered Odes of Solomon, written in Syriac, we 
have the earliest specimens of Christian hymnody that are 
in existence. Dr. Rendel Harris, their discoverer, main- 
tains that here is nothing less than a lost hymn-book of 
the Apostolic, or at least the sub-Apostolic, Church. 
According to him they were written in Greek by a Jewish 
Christian towards the end of the first century and are the 
private poems of a non-sacramental mystic. 28 On the other 
hand, Archbishop Bernard, who edited them in Texts and 
Studies, considers that the Syriac is probably the original 
form, that they were written not long before A.D. 200, and 
that they are "baptismal hymns for use in public worship, 
either for catechumens or for those who have recently been 
baptized". 29 These two estimates are sufficiently opposed 
in themselves : but the question is further complicated by 
the fad that Harnack considered the Odes to be a Christian 
recension of Jewish originals, while others detect in them 
signs of Gnostic inspiration. 30 Their great beauty and 



interest cannot be denied : and if (as seems now to be the 
prevailing opinion) they really are of Christian origin, we 
may regard them as furnishing excellent examples of the 
psalmi idiotici spoken of above. But having regard to the 
obscurity that surrounds them and to the facl: that, even 
if their provenance be Christian, they have left no trace 
behind in Christian worship, we may be excused if we give 
them no more than passing mention. 

The case is otherwise with what had usually been re- 
garded hitherto as the earliest Christian hymn that has 
come down to us, at least as a complete whole the 
beautiful <a>s IXapov ('Joyful Light'). Here we have 
something which is not only of great antiquity and in- 
dubitably Christian origin, but has occupied an honoured 
place in the worship of the Eastern Church since a very 
early period. It has been attributed to the martyr Athena- 
goras (c. 1 80) : but this seems to rest on a mistake. There 
can be no doubt, however, that it is very old : for St. 
Basil, writing c. 370, speaks of it thus : "We cannot say who 
is the father of these expressions at the Thanksgiving at 
the Lighting of the Lamps : but it is an ancient formula 
which the people repeat : and no one has ever yet been 
accused of impiety for saying, 'We hymn the Father and 
the Son and the Holy Spirit of GOD.' " 31 Whether origin- 
ally written for public worship or for private use, it had 
already by St. Basil's time become part of the Vesper 
Office held "at the lighting of the lamps" and therefore 
called in Greek eVtAu'^viov and in Latin Lucernarium. It 
still forms part of the Evening Office of the Eastern 
Church. It has been translated by many hands ; the best- 
known renderings being the unmetrical rhymed version 
by John Keble, 'Hail, gladdening Light,' *i8, and Robert 
Bridges's translation, 'O gladsome Light,' t26g, written 
to fit the exquisite tune by Bourgeois for the metrical 
version of Nunc dimittis in the Genevan Psalter. 

Another early hymn is that found in the Apostolical 

c 23 


Constitutions (IV th century) again as part of the Vesper 
Office. Dom Leclercq considers it to be of the third 
century at the latest. 32 It may be translated thus : 

We praise Thee, we hymn Thee, we bless Thee for Thy 
great glory, Lord King, Father of Christ the Immaculate 
Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world. Thou art worthy 
to be praised, Thou art worthy to be hymned, Thou art 
worthy to be glorified, Who art God and Father through the 
Son in the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. 

The reader will at once notice the resemblance to the 
Gloria in excelsis. This, too, is a non-Scriptural hymn of 
early date ; its opening words being suggested by the 
Angelic Song heard by the shepherds on the night of 
Christ's nativity. The Apostolic Constitutions (where it 
appears in a longer form than in the Roman Liturgy) 
reveal it as being in use in the East at the Morning Office 
in the fourth century, and in an earlier form it may be 
much older. Concerning its structure Dom Cabrol says : 
"The rhythm is free : but the harmonious arrangement of 
the phrases and their subsidiary clauses, especially striking 
in the Greek, seems based on a studied succession of 
syllables and accents and even rhyme, the use of which 
gives greater symmetry to the cadence." 33 It has never 
been used at Mass in the East : but it appears in the Roman 
Mass from the beginning of the sixth century at first, 
however, only on Sundays and festivals and for use by the 
Bishop alone. 34 The Triumphal Hymn orSanffius, on the 
other hand, forms part of the Mass in both East and 
West : but it is virtually a Scriptural composition. 

Another very ancient hymn is the so-called Trisagion, 
which may be translated thus : 

Holy GOD, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have 
mercy upon us. 

Its earliest attestation is by the Council of Chalcedon 
(451) : but it is undoubtedly of much earlier date. 35 Even 



more interesting is an ancient Easter song which survives 
in the Greek service-book called the Pentecostarion, and 
which Cardinal Pitra tells us was still sung in the original 
Greek at the Easter solemnities in Rome in the ninth cen- 
tury. It may be taken as an example of the "acclamations" 
spoken of above. Its effect is incommunicable in an English 
translation ; so it may be given in Pitra's Latin version : 

Pascha (i.e. Passover) 
Sacrum nobis hodie apparuit ! 
Pascha novum, sanflum ! 
Pascha mysticum ! 
Pascha augustissimum ! 
Pascha, Christus Redemptor ! 
Pascha immaculatum ! 
Pascha magnum ! 
Pascha fidelium I 
Pascha quo portae nobis 
Paradisi aperta sunt ! 

Omnes sanftificans fideles ! 
Romae Papam tu, Christe, conserva.^ 

All these ancient hymns have survived in the public 
worship of East or West. It remains to mention three 
others of the same period which have come down to us, 
though neither now nor (so far as we know) at any time 
have they been used for liturgical purposes. 

The first is a Hymn to Christ attached to the Paedagogus 
of Clement of Alexandria (170-220), beginning UTO^LOV 
7Tc6Aa)v dSacuv, 'Bridle of colts untamed. 3 37 It is thus the 
earliest Christian hymn that can be definitely dated. Un- 
like the "rhythmical" hymns mentioned above it is written 
in a classical metre (Anapaestic dimeter), and in this way 
(as we shall see) lies off the main track on which Eastern 
hymnody was to proceed. The second is the "Amherst 
papyrus", so-called because it was discovered in the 
library of Lord Amherst in Norfolk. 38 This may be dated 
about the end of the third century and is written in 
anapaests. (For an explanation of this and other metrical 



terms used in this book the reader is referred to Appendix 
A.) "It has been described", says Baumstark, "as a versi- 
fied ethical catechism of early Christendom, although it 
might quite as fitly be regarded as a hymn forming part 
of the liturgy of initiation addressed to the newly bap- 
tized." Its great interest in the history of hymnody lies in 
two directions. First, its anapaests are regulated as much 
by accent as by quantity. Thus it marks an early stage in 
the process, common to the hymnody of both East and 
West, by which accent came to be the regulating principle 
of prosody in place of the vowel-quantity of the old classi- 
cal metres. Secondly, we have here the earliest extant 
example of the alphabetic acrostic which, already em- 
ployed frequently in the Hebrew psalms, was to be so 
marked a feature of Eastern hymnody. In the initial 
letters of the lines the letters of the Greek alphabet in their 
order appear three times over. 

The last of these three hymns has been already re- 
ferred to the hymn beginning "AvwQzv irapQevoi, 'Up, 
maidens !', that closes the Banquet of the Ten Virgins 
ascribed to Methodius (d. 3ii). 39 In this curious work ten 
virgins are represented as engaging in a kind of competi- 
tion in declaring the glory of their state. Finally Thekla, 
the victor, chants a psalm to which the others respond by 
a brief refrain : 

I keep myself chaste for Thee, and wielding light-bearing 
torches, O Bridegroom, I will go to meet Thee. 

Here we have the use of the refrain for the first time in 
any extant hymn. In addition, the iambics of the verses 
are not less accentual in character than the anapaests of 
the "Amherst papyrus" ; while the acrostic also re- 
appears, each of the 24 stanzas beginning with the succes- 
sive letters of the alphabet. Thus three of the most charac- 
teristic features of late Greek hymnody accentual versi- 
fication, acrostic and refrain are already anticipated. 



THE earliest products of Greek hymnody have been 
dealt with in the preceding chapter. It must be re- 
membered that the facl that they are in Greek does 
not necessarily imply that their use was confined to the 
Eastern portions of the Roman Empire. In the first Chris- 
tian centuries Greek, not Latin, was the usual language of 
worship not only in the East but also in a large part of the 
Christianized West. The earliest surviving literature 
emanating from the Church of Rome was written in 
Greek : and it is certain that Greek continued to be its 
liturgical language until the middle of the third century. 
It was in this way, possibly, that hymns written in Greek 
like the Gloria in excelsis 40 and the Te decet laus (see p. 24) 
became part of the worship of the Western Church ; to 
retain their position in a translated form when the change 
from Greek to Latin took place. Still more interesting is 
the case of the Trisagion, which survives in the Roman 
rite (in the Good Friday Reproaches) in its Greek as well 
as its Latin form : 'Agios o Theos, Agios ischyros, Agios 
athanatos, eleison imas.' A similar Greek survival is the 
Kyrie eleison; and we have seen how until the ninth 
century the Pascha acclamations continued to be sung 
at Rome in Greek. 

From the middle of the fourth century onwards the 

hymnodies of East and West part company and proceed 

on widely different lines. Yet in both cases there is a great 

extension in the use of hymns, which soon become for the 

first time a definitely recognized part of the Church's 



worship. This extension, too, is in each case largely 
prompted by the same cause the fight against heresy. 
We have already spoken of the use of hymns by the early 
heretics as a means of winning a popular currency for their 
doctrines. Of those who exploited this method none was so 
thorough or so successful as the Syrian Gnostic, Barde- 
sanes, at the end of the second century. He and his son 
Harmonius produced a "Gnostic psalter" of 150 hymns. 
It was to meet this challenge that, more than a century 
later, the celebrated Ephraem Syrus (?307~373) composed 
his Syriac hymns. 41 Ephraem lived at Edessa and ranks 
as the most famous of the theologians who wrote in Syriac. 
In one of his writings he thus complains : 

In the resorts of Bardesanes 
There are songs and melodies ; 
For seeing that young people 
Loved sweet music, 
By the harmony of his songs 
He corrupted their morals. 

To counteract the "poisoned sweetness" of these songs 
Ephra'em, we are told, "gathered the daughters of the 
Convent", and for them, as they met daily in the churches 
of Edessa, "he,- like a spiritual harpist, arranged different 
kinds of songs and taught them the variation of chants 
until the whole city was gathered to him and the party 
of the adversary was put to shame". These hymns of 
Ephraem with their strophes, refrains and "rhythmical" 
structure based not on quantity but on accent and, on the 
presence of an equal number of syllables in corresponding 
lines would appear to have had considerable influence 
in determining the form not only of Syriac hymnody, but 
of Greek hymnody too. 42 Besides hymns in the more 
ordinary sense Ephraem also cultivated a literary genre of 
his own called "metrical homilies", in which he attacked 
not the Bardesanites only but other forms of heresy as 
well. A number of his hymns have been translated into 



English, though none has come into common use with the 
exception of Dr. Burkitt's 'Receive, O Lord, in heaven 
above' t z 94- As a writer of Syriac hymns he had many 
successors, but none of equal fame. 

At the period when Ephraem in further Syria was 
coping with the relics of Gnosticism, the main body of the 
Empire was in the throes of a conflict between orthodoxy 
and the new heresy called Arianism. Its founder, Arius, 
used from the outset songs set to popular times to propa- 
gate his ideas. "The workers of the port," says Duchesne, 
"the sailors, the idlers and the common people knew these 
songs and deafened the faithful of Alexandria with 
them." 43 The earliest and greatest of the opponents of 
Arius, the austere St. Athanasius, was apparently content, 
so far as we know, to denounce the frivolity and unseemli- . 
ness of this practice and did not attempt to organize a 
counter-crusade of song. But during the fourth century it 
would seem that the custom of singing hymns in the 
churches was widely spread in the East : for we know, on 
the authority of St. Augustine, that at Milan in 386 the 
same custom was introduced in the West "after the use of 
the Eastern provinces". 44 On the other hand, the 59th 
canon of the Council of Laodicea 45 (held between 343 
and 381) allowed the liturgical use of nothing save Holy 
Scripture and forbade the singing ofpsalmi idiotici pre- 
sumably to avoid the risk of contaminating the orthodoxy 
of the faithful by means of heretical hymns. "This prohibi- 
tion, however," says Dom Leclercq, "would not appear to 
have been very widely observed." 46 In any case it is 
certain that at the end of the same century the alternative 
method of "not allowing the devil to have all the good 
tunes" was again boldly resorted to at Constantinople. 
When St. Chrysostom became Bishop there in 398, the 
Arians were not allowed to worship within the city walls. 
They made up for this, however, by coming into the city 
on the evenings of Saturdays, Sundays and the greater 



festivals and assembling in the public porticoes and other 
places of common resort. Here they passed the night in 
singing hymns (with acroteleuteia or refrains) in which they 
set forth the Arian doctrines and hurled taunts at the 
orthodox. These performances attracted large crowds : 
and by way of counteracting their influence Chrysostom, 
with the support and at the expense of the Empress 
Eudoxia, initiated solemn nocturnal processions for the 
chanting of hymns with such ceremonial adjuncts as silver 
crosses and lighted candles. These competitive demonstra- 
tions not unnaturally led to riot and bloodshed, with the 
result that the Arian hymn-singings were forbidden by 
law. Their orthodox rivals, on the other hand, became a 
permanent institution. 47 

One of Chrysostom's immediate predecessors in the see 
of Constantinople, Gregory of Nazianzus (d. c. 390), the 
life-long friend of St. Basil, had already voiced the ortho- 
doxy of the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in a 
number of poems written in the closing years of his 
chequered life. Like our own Bishop Ken, he had been 
compelled by the political vicissitudes of the time to resign 
his see (381) and to go into retirement (in a cell in his 
native city Nazianzus) : and, like him, too, he solaced 
his enforced leisure with the writing of sacred poetry. His 
poems, written almost entirely in the classical metres, 
reach a high level of excellence : and a number of them 
have been translated into English by the Rev. A. W. Chat- 
field in his Songs and Hymns of the Greek Christian Poets 

Another Christian poet of slightly later date was 
Synesius (c. 365-414) . A genial country gentleman of philo- 
sophic tastes living in Gyrene in North Africa, he went in 
397 to Constantinople, where he vainly tried to induce the 
Emperor Arcadius to take steps to meet the growing bar- 
barian menace. After his return he was gradually con- 
verted to Christianity ; and in 4,10, much against his will, 



he allowed himself to be made Bishop of Ptolemais. Here 
(to quote Gibbon's characteristic comment) "the philo- 
sophic bishop supported with dignity the character which 
he had assumed with reluctance". 49 Even as a Christian 
he remained a good deal of a Neoplatonist : and his ortho- 
doxy has been called in question. But his ten Odes, written 
in various classical metres, are of great interest and beauty 
in their presentation of Christian doctrine as seen through 
the eyes of a Platonist philosopher. Mrs. Browning even 
went so far as to call Synesius "the chief, for all true and 
natural gifts, of all our Greek Christian poets" ; and adds, 
"These Odes have, in fact, a wonderful rapture and 
ecstasy". 50 She herself translated two of them : and all ten 
were translated by Mr. Chatfield. One of his versions (of 
the roth Ode), 'Lord Jesus, think on me' *i85 f77, finds 
a place in most modern hymnals : but the translator him- 
self has told us that it is more a paraphrase than an exact 
translation. More characteristic of Synesius's thought is 
another version from the same hand which appears in 
A.M. 'Lift up thyself, my soul' *66i. This is a really fine 
hymn, not only noble both in thought and language but 
of a characteristically Hellenic type hardly represented 
otherwise at all in our hymn-books. It helps, too, to fill the 
serious gap arising from the deficiency of hymns addressed 
to the Father as compared with those addressed to the 
Incarnate Son. 

Neither the hymns of Gregory nor those of Synesius 
succeeded in finding a place in the public services of the 
Eastern Church. They were hardly adapted for the pur- 
pose in any case : and their employment of the classical 
metres of Greece set them outside of the lines on which 
Greek hymnody was destined to develop. With a single 
exception (the three Iambic Canons of St. John Dama- 
scene) the service-books of the Eastern Church include no 
hymns written in those metres. The character of the vast 
body of hymns that they contain is rather Oriental than 



Hellenic, alike in matter and literary form : their filiation 
proceeds from other sources than Greek poetry. At the 
period when these hymns were produced classical Greek 
was dying out : moreover, as Neale says, "in the decline of 
the language accent was trampling down quantity". The 
line was no longer based on the arrangement of long- and 
short-vowelled syllables into various types of metrical 
"feet", but on the alternation of accented and unaccented 
syllables, of arsis and thesis ; the classical distinction be- 
tween long and short vowels tending more and more to 
disappear. 51 The change (as we shall see) was common to 
both Greek and Latin hymnody : but in the case of the 
former it was no doubt encouraged by the influence of 
Syriac hymnody, which was accentual in prosody from 
the beginning. 52 Another influence operating in the same 
direction was that of the elaborate prose of the later Greek 
rhetoricians. There is good reason to believe that some of 
the earlier Greek "rhythmical" hymns were nothing else 
than combinations of extracts from the homilies of the 
Greek Fathers. In an instruction by St. Dorotheus (IV th 
century) to his monks in Palestine we find a commentary 
on the successive lines of a hymn on the Resurrection 
which turns out on examination to be simply a cento of 
passages from an Easter homily of St. Gregory of Nazi- 
anzus (382). "The rhythmic movement of the phrases," 
says M. Petrides, "was accentuated in such a way. that 
one had only to join to them an appropriate melody to 
obtain a hymn worthy to figure in the Paschal office." 53 
Another of St. Dorotheus's instructions comments on a 
hymn to Martyrs which has a similar origin. 

It was under these influences that the Troparia were pro- 
duced which from the fifth century onwards achieved an 
immense and increasing popularity in the worship of the 
Eastern Church. In their earliest form these Troparia would 
appear to have been short hymns consisting of a single 
stanza. To the old-fashioned and strict-minded they 



seemed a mere "luxury of devotion" to be frowned upon. 
Cardinal Pitra has collected three quaint stories to this . 
effect, 54 in all of which monks who have become en- 
amoured of the new form of singing are rebuked by a holy 
and austere abbot, who, while admitting that such things 
may be tolerable for the secular clergy and the laity, re- 
gards them as a violation of ancient tradition and un- 
worthy of the ascetic life of a monk. At the same time the 
stories reveal that even in the monasteries this prejudice 
was more and more breaking down. 

Of these early Troparia a large number survive : and 
many find a place in the Greek service books, though they 
are not always easy to identify. Two of them, presumably 
dating from the sixth century, have achieved immense 
fame and become enshrined within the Mass itself. The 
first is the Cherubic Hymn sung in the chief Eastern Liturgies 
before the "Great Entrance". This is generally ascribed to 
the time of the Emperor Justinian : it was inserted in the 
Liturgy in the reign of his successor Justin II (565-78). 55 
It runs as follows : 

Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim and sing the 
thrice-holy hymn to the quickening Trinity lay by at this time 
all worldly cares, that we may receive the King of glory, 
invisibly attended by the angelic orders. Alleluia, Alleluia, 

In this connection we may notice that in the Liturgy of 
the Church of Jerusalem, commonly called the Liturgy of 
St. James, this Cherubic Hymn is accompanied by a 
prayer, to be said by the Priest, which, as freely translated 
by the Rev. G. Moultrie, has become well-known in the 
guise of the Eucharistic hymn, 'Let all mortal flesh keep 
silence' 1318 (Dr. Mason's 'Not a thought of earthly things' 
*7i7 is an alternative version). Another prayer from the 
same Liturgy (to be said by the Deacon before the Priest 
goes to the sacristy after the service) has been similarly 
paraphrased in metrical form as the hymn 'From glory 



to glory advancing' j 310. It must be repeated, however, 
that in their original form these hymns are not hymns 
at all but prayers. 

Besides the Cherubic Hymn another hymn, pre- 
sumably of the same period, is attributed to the pen of the 
Emperor Justinian himself, beginning with the words 
'0 juovoyevqs 1 wo?. 56 It may be translated thus : 

Only-begotten Son and Word of GOD, Immortal, Who 
didst vouchsafe for our salvation to take flesh of the holy 
Mother of GOD and ever- Virgin Mary, and didst without 
mutation become Man and wast crucified, Christ our GOD, and 
by death didst overcome death, being one of the Holy Trinity 
and glorified together with the Father and the Holy Spirit ; 
Save us. 

This has become familiar to many English congregations 
in Dr. T. A. Lacey's metrical translation, t3 2 5- 

Such simple single-stanza Troparia, varying widely both 
in the number and in the length of their lines, continue to 
figure largely in the Greek service-books, especially after 
the first group of psalms in the Night-Office, and are called 
by various names according to their character and use. 
But as time went on the stanzas were multiplied, thus 
forming hymns of considerable length. Sometimes a 
number of Idiomela or single-stanza Troparia were strung 
loosely together into a long hymn called a Stichera. But 
more usually the constituent troparia were welded into an 
artistic whole with a definitely articulated structure in the 
form called a Contakion after the rolls (contakia) from 
which they were sung by the precentor. It is this poetic 
form which is associated with the "Middle Period" of 
Greek hymnody that brought to birth its most beautiful 
and distinguished products the "golden age of Byzan- 
tine hymnody", as it has been called. 57 Unfortunately the 
service-books (called Tropologia] in which these hymns 
were collected were destroyed wholesale by the Iconoclast 
reformers of the eighth and ninth centuries. Thus the 
hymns in question entirely disappeared except for certain 



fragments that were rescued from oblivion and incorpo- 
rated into the later service-books. The so-called "contalda" 
in these presumably represent the mutilated remains of 
the old Contakia. 

Fortunately, however, a considerable number of the 
latter have chanced to be preserved in three MSS. Tropo- 
logia at Moscow, Rome and Turin, where they remained 
unknown for centuries until they were discovered by 
Cardinal Pitra, who published a collection of them in 
iSyG. 59 The most distinguished of the writers of this 
school is the deacon Romanus, called the Melodist. Un- 
fortunately there is wide discrepancy of opinion as to his 
date. He is said to have come to Constantinople "in the 
reign of Anastasius". But there were two emperors of that 
name: Anastasius I (491-518) and Anastasius II (713-9) 
a difference of two centuries. Pitra declared for the 
former. But the German scholar Crist argued 60 (very 
reasonably, as it seems) that this would set Romanus back 
in the first, formative period of Greek hymnody when (so 
far as we know) nothing but Troparia and Idiomela existed ; 
though as against this it might be urged that in Metho- 
dius's Hymn of the Virgins we have a very early composition 
which is not only as elaborate as Romanus's Contakia but 
is adually constructed on similar lines. The prevailing 
opinion is to follow Grist's choice of the later date. 61 If 
this be correft, Romanus flourished just before the first 
outbreak of the Iconoclastic controversy. 

In addition to his discovery of these hymns Pitra has 
also the credit of having found the long lost key to their 
prosodic structure and that of the later Greek hymns 
generally. Before his time it was generally believed that the 
hymns of the Greek service-books were not really poetry 
at all, but "measured prose". Neale definitely expressed 
this view in the preface to his Hymns of the Eastern Church 
published in i862. 62 But even before Neale wrote Pitra 
had stumbled on the secret. He himself has told the story 



in his Hymnologie de I'Eglise grecque (iSGy). 63 In 1859 the 
future Cardinal, then a Benedidine of Solesmes, visited 
St. Petersburg (now Leningrad). Here he came across an 
old MS. containing at the end a "Canon of eight Odes" 
(a term explained below, p. 39), the text of which was 
divided up throughout at frequent intervals by red dots. 
Taking each Ode separately and comparing its strophes 
with one another, he found that in every strophe the 
number of syllables in each corresponding division thus 
marked off was the same, though these numbers differed 
widely from one another, some of the divisions or "lines" 
being much longer than others. An examination of other 
MSS. revealed the presence of similar divisions marked on 
precisely the same plan. Thus, says Pitra, "the pilgrim was 
in possession of the syllabic system of the hymnographers". 

This system worked as follows. At the beginning of every 
Ode was a strophe called heirmos, usually a strophe taken 
from an earlier hymn (in which case only the first line was 
indicated). This served as the pattern-strophe for the 
whole Ode, regulating at once (i) the melody to which 
the Ode was sung, (2) the number of syllables in each 
clause or 'line', (3) the beat of the accentuation, this last 
ignoring the distinction between long and short vowels 
observed in the classical metres. The 'lines' may vary from 
3 to 13 syllables, and the strophes from 3 to 33 "lines" hi 
each. The strophes following the keirmos are called tro- 
paria : and the whole Canon is knit together by an acrostic 
supplying the initial letters of the successive strophes. This 
acrostic is sometimes alphabetic and sometimes indicates 
either the name of the author or the theme of his poem. 
Another feature is the ephymnwn or refrain closing each 

The Canons and Odes thus analysed by Pitra belong to 
a later period of Greek hymnody than the Contakia of 
Romanus and his school : but the principles of construc- 
tion are much the same in the latter as in the former. In 



the Contakia, however, the heirmos is preceded by a brief 
strophe called the 77/300,07x0,. 64 In Pitra's opinion these' 
earlier hymns are superior to the later Odes and Canons 
in freshness and animation. In particular they have a 
markedly dramatic character which is completely absent 
from their successors. He suggests that (like some of the 
earlier Sequences in the West) they were actually sung 
with dramatic accompaniments as a substitute for the 
theatrical performances of pagan times. 66 He gives a 
description of the most celebrated of Romanus's Contakia. 
It is a Christmas hymn and consists of 24 long strophes. 
The first is the "proem" and differs in structure from the 
rest, though it concludes with the refrain that is to end all 
the other strophes : 'New-born Child, Who wast GOD 
from before all ages.' The second is the heirmos, which 
provides the mould for all the other strophes and also 
starts the acrostic. The latter consists of the words, TOV 
raTTewov 'Pco/jLavov vjjivos, "The hymn of humble Ro- 
manus." The first strophe gives a description of the scene 
and characters of the Nativity. Later, the Virgin addresses 
the Divine Infant, after which the Magi appear and a 
dialogue ensues between the Virgin, Joseph and them. 
Then the Magi present their gifts ; and the hymn concludes 
with an intercession by the Virgin. 

Next in importance to Romanus as a representative of 
this 'Middle Period' of Greek hymnody may be reckoned 
the Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople (610-41), author 
of the famous hymn called the Akathistos. It was originally 
written as a thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin for the 
defence of Constantinople against the Persians ; and was 
so called because it was always sung standing. It is not 
unlike the hymns of Romanus in some respeds : but its 
form is rather different. It has been translated by Dr. G. 
R. Woodward, but its subjed-matter makes it unsuitable 
for Anglican worship. 

However great the merits of Romanus and his school, it 



is unnecessary to do more than pay a passing tribute to 
their historical interest: for, with a single exception (a 
Christmas Contakion, 'Bethlehem hath opened Eden' 66 ), 
none of their hymns has been translated into English and 
the one exception has never come into use. The same 
treatment may be accorded to Sophronius, Patriarch of 
Jerusalem (629). His Anacreontic hymns, written in 
Iambic dimeter, never made their way into the service- 
books : but a few of the others, written in the accustomed 
"rhythmical" style, have found a place there. None of 
these, however, has been translated. 

The case is otherwise with the later school of hymnody 
which came into existence on the ruins of its predecessor 
and, in the teeth of triumphant Iconoclasm, sought to do 
all over again its work of using sacred song to bear witness 
to and safeguard the orthodox faith. This is the hymnody 
that supplies the originals of those translations of Neale's 
from the Greek 67 which have become so popular in our 
English hymnals. It is the hymnody which has displayed 
its voluminous richness for nearly a thousand years in the 
Greek service-books that form what may be called the 
"Eastern Breviary". Neale calculates that "on a moderate 
computation" these Offices "comprise five thousand 
closely printed quarto pages in double columns of which 
at least four thousand are poetry". 68 They are arranged 
in 1 8 volumes : (i) 12 volumes of Menaea, one for each 
month (Gk. p?v), corresponding to the Proper of Saints 
in the Western Breviary ; (2) the Parakletike, containing 
the ferial Offices arranged according to a recurring system 
of eight weeks ; (3) the Octoechus, containing the Offices 
for Saturday evening and Sunday from the preceding 
(the term 'Octoechus' is derived from the Eight "Modes" 
(17x01) in which the music of the ferial Offices of each 
of the eight weeks in turn is written) ; (4) the Triodion, 
containing the services for Lent and the three Sundays 
preceding it so named because the Odes in it are usually 



arranged in groups of three ; (5) the Pentecostarion, contain- 
ing the services for the seasons of Easter and Pentecost ; 

(6) the Euchologion, containing the Occasional Offices ; 

(7) the Horologion, containing the Hours of Prayer. 

The general principles on which this vast body of hymns 
is constructed have been already described in our account 
of Pitra's discovery. The most characteristic feature of the 
system is the Ode. An Ode (like Romanus's Contakiori) con- 
sists of a heirmos followed by a varying number of troparia, 
of which the heirmos (usually a strophe of older date) sup- 
plies the model. The concluding strophe of an Ode usually 
celebrates the Blessed Virgin and is therefore called the 
Theotokion, Theotokos meaning "Mother of GOD." The 
Odes in their turn are arranged in groups, occasionally of 
two or four but usually of three or (in the case of the great 
Festival Canons) of eight. The eight Odes forming a 
Canon are threaded on an acrostic, usually in verse. These 
Canons are sung at Lauds. Their constituent Odes were 
written to accompany the Scriptural Canticles that origin- 
ally formed part of that service. These Canticles were at 
first nine in number : but the second (the Song of Moses 
in Deut. xxxii) was omitted because its minatory character 
made it unsuitable for festivals, and the corresponding 
Ode vanished too. Hence the number eight. In course of 
time the other Canticles also practically disappeared, 
while the Odes remained. 69 

It may conduce to greater clearness if we append a 
literal translation of an Ode. It is the first of the eight 
Odes comprising the most celebrated of all the Festival 
Canons St. John Damascene's great Easter Canon, of 
which more will be said shortly. The reader will be 
already well-acquainted with it in Neale's metrical 
version. The present rendering is necessarily very clumsy : 
and it is of course impossible to reproduce the "syllabic" 
arrangement. It must suffice to repeat that in the original 
Greek the number of syllables in the first line of every 

D 39 


stanza is the same, and so on through succeeding lines. 
(The number of these syllables is indicated in brackets.) 


The Day of Resurrection ! (8) 

Rejoice we, all peoples ! (5) 

The Passover of the Lord, the Passover ! (7) 

For from death unto life (8) 

And from earth unto heaven (6) 

Christ our GOD (5) 

Hath brought us over (7) 

Singing a triumph-song (7) 

Troparia ' 

Let us purify our hearts (8) 
And we shall behold, (5) 
In the light unapproachable (7) 
Of the Resurrection, Christ (8) 
Sending forth His rays, and (6) 
His greeting ' All hail ' (5) 
We shall hear clearly, (7) 
Singing a triumph-song (7) 

Let the heavens in fitting fashion (8) 

Make rejoicing (5) 

And let the earth be glad. (7) 

Let the world exult, (8) 

Both all that is visible (6) 

And invisible ; (5) 

For Christ is risen, (7) 

Our joy everlasting (7) 

A word must now be said concerning the circumstances 
which gave rise to the movement resulting in the efflor- 
escence of this amazing outburst of sacred song. In the 
third decade of the eighth century the Emperor Leo the 
Isaurian set himself to put down what seemed to him the 
excessive and idolatrous veneration paid to images in the 
Eastern Church. The faith and arms of Islam were spread- 
ing with terrifying rapidity : and his motive was largely to 
wipe out a reproach that seemed to make Christianity 
easily vulnerable by its stern monotheism. In the long 



drawn-out struggle that followed under Leo and his suc- 
cessors the Church for the most part vehemently opposed 
the imperial policy : and the contest more and more 
assumed the character of a defence of her independence 
against the encroachments of the civil power. The heart 
and soul of the anti-Iconoclast party was the monks : and 
their resistance found its most formidable strongholds in 
two monasteries first, the Laura of Saint Sabas near 
Jerusalem, set "like an eagle's nest" on a crag overlooking 
the wild valley of the Kedron, and secondly (at a rather 
later date) the famous monastery of St. John the Baptist 
in Constantinople, commonly called the Studion (or 
Studium) after the name of its founder, Studios. The lead- 
ing figures in both these centres of opposition were not 
only theologians but poets as well : and in their hands 
hymnody was once again made to serve the interests of 
orthodoxy against the wiles of "heresy". 

Even before the Iconoclastic controversy began Jeru- 
salem had produced a hymn-writer of note in St. Andrew 
of Crete (660-732), who before becoming Archbishop of 
that island had been a monk in the Holy City, though not 
at St. Sabas. Whether or not he was the inventor of the 
Canon, his are the earliest Canons that survive : and a 
number of them are still found in the Greek service-books. 
The most celebrated is the so-called "Great Canon", 
which runs to no less than 250 strophes and is still sung in 
Lent mercifully for the singers, only once in its entirety. 
Part of it was translated by Neale ('Whence shall my tears 
begin ? ' ) . He wrote Triodia and Idiomela as well : and Neale's 
translations include two sets ofStichera for Palm Sunday 
and Maundy Thursday. In publishing his well-known 
Lenten hymn 'Christian, dost thou see them ? ', Neale 
described it as translated "from a Stichera of St. Andrew 
of Crete" : but no Greek original has been found. 

At St. Sabas the two greatest names the greatest in 
later Greek hymnody are those of St. Cosmas (d. c, 760) 



and St. John of Damascus (d. before 754). 70 To both (along 
with others) is given the title of "the Melodist" a term 
which appears to include the musician's art as well as the 
poet's. To John is attributed the arrangement of the 
Octoechus according to the Eight Modes. The two saints 
were connected by close personal ties. Gosmas was the 
adopted son of John's father : and the two lads were 
educated together under the care of another Cosmas, who 
was a hymn-writer too and in company with whom they 
later joined the Laura of St. Sabas together. Cosmas be- 
came Bishop of Maiuma in 743 : but John had his head- 
quarters at Jerusalem till the end of his life. Neale 
describes him as "the last but one of the Fathers of the 
Greek Church and the greatest of her poets". The latter 
honour would in facl seem rather to belong to Romanus : 
but when Neale wrote he was undiscovered. John was the 
author of an elaborate theological treatise called The 
Fountain of Knowledge., and also wrote three celebrated 
Orations defending the cause of the icons against their 
opponents. It is, however, in virtue of his gift of wedding 
clear-cut dogma to the poetic art that he has exercised his 
greatest influence on posterity. In this he was the superior 
of Cosmas, in whom the theologian for the most part 
dominated the poet. Cosmas's chief work was a number of 
Canons for the Festivals : but these pale before the grand 
series of similar compositions that came from John's pen 
and represent the high-water-mark of his achievement. 
They are six in number and celebrate the festivals 
of Christmas, the Theophany, Pentecost, Easter, St. 
Thomas's (i.e. Low) Sunday and the Ascension. The first 
of these are in Iambic metre : the others are in the usual 
"rhythmical" form. In not a few of the Festival Canons 
"the Odes of the several Canons by St. Cosmas and St. 
John of Damascus are interwoven, brotherlike, with one 
another". Besides his Odes and Canons John wrote 
numerous Idiomela as well. 



In his translations from the Greek hymns Neale pro- 
perly gave special attention to the works of John and 
Gosmas. The former's masterpiece the so-called 
"Golden Canon" or "King of Canons" for Easter he 
has rendered in extenso. The first of its eight Odes provides 
one of the most joyous and popular of our Easter hymns : 
e ['Tis] the Day of Resurredion 5 *i$2 \itf. The last Ode 
of the same Canon appears in E.H. : Thou hallowed 
chosen morn of praise' | I 3^- The four Odes translated 
from the Canon for St. Thomas's Sunday include another 
famous Easter hymn (Ode i) : 'Come, ye faithful, raise the 
strain' *i33 jisi. The Idiomela for All Saints, 'Those 
eternal bowers', appeared in the 1904 edition of Hymns 
A. and M. (622). A Stichera beginning 'Take thy last kiss' 
is an exquisite threnody on the departed soul (taken from 
the Burial Office in the Euchologiori) , but is rather a sacred 
lyric than a hymn in our sense of the word. The Euchologion 
also provides the original of Mr. Athelstan Riley's 'What 
sweet of life endureth' f36o from the Burial Office for 
Priests. Neale further translated the eight Odes of the 
Canon for Christmas Day by St. Cosmas : but these have 
not come into use as hymns. A cento, however, from the 
same writer's Canon for the Transfiguration provides the 
hymn 'In days of old on Sinai 5 *46o. 

At Constantinople an elder con temporary of Cosmas and 
John like them at once poet and defender of the icons 
was Germanus (634-734), Patriarch of Constantinople 
and author of (among other things) the original of the now 
familiar Christmas carol, 'A great and mighty wonder' 
fig. But the fame of the imperial city as a home of hymn- 
writers is centred in the great monastery of the Studium 
and belongs to a later stage in the Iconoclastic con- 
troversy. Its sternly ascetic Abbot, St. Theodore (c. 759- 
826), was a foremost champion of the icons, in defence of 
which he found a more than dubious ally in the cruel and 
unscrupulous Empress Irene. He wrote an exultant Canon 



sung on "Orthodoxy Sunday" (the ist Sunday in Lent) 
celebrating the victory of their cause. This has been trans- 
lated by Neale ('A song, a song of gladness 5 ), as also 
another Canon (for Sexagesima) on the Last Judgment 
described by him as "the finest Judgment Hymn of the 
Church till the Dies Irae". More famous still was St. Theo- 
phanes (c. 800-850), who is considered by Neale to "hold 
the third place among Greek hymn- writers". Neale trans- 
lated a Stichera and Idiomela of his : but neither is suitable 
for use as an English hymn. Two other hymn-writers, one 
certainly, the other probably, to be connected with the 
Studium, remain to be mentioned. The first is St. Theoc- 
tistus (c. 890), author of the "Suppliant Canon", of which 
a portion has been translated by Neale as the beautiful 
hymn 'Jesu ! Name all names above' *775 t4 J 8, and also 
of the original of the Lent hymn, 'Sweet Saviour, in Thy 
pitying grace' *4go. The second is St. Anatolius, who 
wrote 'Fierce was the wild billow' t388, and the Stichera 
for St. Stephen's Day, 'The Lord and King of all things' 
j*32. The Greek original from which Neale made 'The 
day is past and over' *2i J276 is ascribed by him to St. 
Anatolius (whom incidentally he confused with a saint of 
the same name who lived some centuries earlier) : but it 
is actually a metrical portion of the Late Evening Service 
of the Orthodox Church. 71 

To the "Sabaites" and "Studites" may be added a 
third group of monastic hymn-writers of the same school 
of hymnody. These lived in the South of Italy and Sicily, 
where many opponents of Iconoclasm had taken refuge 
from persecution. To this group belongs Joseph the 
Hymnographer (c. 810-883), though he left his native 
Sicily as a young man and passed his life in Constantinople 
and elsewhere. He is wrongly called "Joseph of the 
Studium" by Neale, who confused him with another 
Joseph (of Thessalonica), who lived at the Studium and 
also wrote hymns. 72 He is the most prolific of the Greek 



hymnographers : Pitra says that he wrote more than a 
thousand. Neale had a poor opinion of his powers, accus- 
ing him of tawdiness and verbiage ; though he contrived ' 
to base on centos from Joseph's Canons two of the best of 
his own hymns : 'Stars of the morning' *4.2$ f 245 and 
'Let our choirs new anthems raise' *44i fiSy. On the 
other hand, Joseph's 'alphabetic' Canon on the Ascension 
has been ranked as "probably the finest hymn extant" on 
that theme. 73 . It was translated by Neale, who repro- 
duced the alphabetic acrostic. Two other of Neale's 
hymns, 'O happy band of pilgrims' and 'Safe home, safe 
home in port,' were described by him in the first edition of 
his Hymns of the Eastern Church as "after Joseph of the 
Studium" : but in the second edition he admitted that 
"they contain so little from the Greek that they ought not 
to have been included" as translations. The same admis- 
sion is made in regard to 'Art thou weary ? 3 . 74 

Another well-known hymn-writer of this school was St. 
Methodius (d. 836) not to be confused with his much 
earlier namesake, the author of the Banquet of the Virgins. 
The art of writing Greek hymns persisted in Italy long 
after it had almost died out elsewhere. A colony of Greek 
monks at Grottaferrata, near Tusculum, carried it on into 
the twelfth century. 75 A further hymn- writer, who be- 
longed to none of the groups mentioned above, is Metro- 
phanes, Bishop of Smyrna (d. c. 9 1 o) , author of eight Canons 
to the Holy Trinity. From one of these Neale extracted the 
cento 'O Unity of threefold Light' fi63. 

Mention should be made in conclusion of a number of 
hymns in E.H. taken from the Greek service-books, of 
which it is impossible to assign the author or even with 
any certainty the date. They are as follows : 'Behold, the 
Bridegroom cometh' (f3=*64i), from the Ferial Midnight 
Office at the beginning of the Horologion ; 'O King, en- 
throned on high' t454> fr m the Pentecostarion ; 'Thou, 
Lord, hast power to heal' t349> fr m the Office of 



Anointing ; and two Litanies the Litany of the Deacon, 
'Goo of all grace' 1652 and the "Great Colled", 'LORD, 
to our humble prayers attend' 1650. 

The main defect of Greek hymnody is a "defect of its 
quality". The weakness of most modern hymns is a ten- 
dency to be unduly subjective, to concentrate on the moods 
and needs of the human ego rather than on the splendour 
and beauty of GOD and His revelation in Christ. This 
weakness the Greek hymns entirely avoid. 

The most remarkable characteristic of Greek hymnody (it 
has been said 76 ) is its objedtiveness, with which is connected 
its faculty of sustained praise . . . This habit of thought has, 
however, its disadvantages. By its discouragement of the 
development of human emotion, aspiration and benefit the 
range of subjects and reflection is narrowed : and in the later 
poets the repetition of the same types, epithets and metaphors 
issues in sameness, conventional didtion and fpssil thought. 
It is impossible to avoid the convi&ion that the great bulk of 
Greek hymns would have had a richer value if it had sought 
for inspiration in the deep spiritual analysis of St. Paul, or the 
interpretation of the changing moods of the soul which are of 
such preciousness in the Psalms. 

None the less the fundamental "quality" remains : and 
these dogmatic, essentially liturgical and profoundly 
"Catholic" hymns nobly help in filling a void that is only 
too conspicuous in most of our hymn-books. 



THE beginnings of Latin hymnody are considerably 
later than those of Greek. During the first two and a 
half Christian centuries Greek, not Latin, was the 
liturgical language in Rome and Italy ; while in Gaul and 
Africa there is no trace of hymnody before Gonstantine I. 
It was not until the fourth century was well on its way that 
it began to develop, and then apparently as a deliberate 
borrowing of Eastern usage. The earliest experiments in 
Latin hymn-writing are associated with the name of St. 
Hilary (d. 368), of whom the Spanish liturgist, St. Isidore 
of Seville, tells us (c. 633) that he was "the first who 
flourished in composing hymns in verse". 77 An unflinch- 
ing opponent of Arianism (he earned the title of Malleus 
Arianorum), he was exiled to Phrygia by the Emperor 
Constantius in 356. For six years he remained in a region 
where hymns were in common use : and it was presumably 
in imitation of what he found there that he wrote the 
earliest Latin hymns of which there is record. In a letter 
attributed to him 78 (which, however, is now generally 
regarded as spurious) he informs his daughter, Abra, that 
he is sending her two hymns of his own composition, for 
morning and evening. St. Jerome, too, tells of a liber 
hymnorum composed by Hilary. 7 9 Some twenty years later 
(as we have already mentioned in passing) the custom of 
singing hymns in the churches was definitely initiated in 
the West (386) . St. Augustine tells the story, in connexion 
with his own delight in these hymns : 

What tears did I shed over the hymns and canticles when the 
sweet sound of the music of Thy Church thrilled the soul ! . . . 



The Church of Milan had but recently begun to pradise this 
kind of consolation and exhortation, to the great delight of the 
brethren, who sang together with heart and voice. It was about 
a year from the time when Justina, mother of the boy Emperor 
Valentinian, entered upon her persecution of Thy holy man 
Ambrose, because he resisted the heresy into which she had 
been seduced by the Arians. The people of GOD were keeping 
ward in the church, ready to die with their bishop. Then it was 
that the custom arose of singing hymns and psalms, after the 
usage of the Eastern provinces, to save the people from being 
utterly worn by their long and sorrowful vigils. From that day 
to this it has been retained : and many, I might say all, Thy 
flocks throughout the rest of the world now follow our 
example. 80 

In certain quarters, however, a prejudice against hymns 
in worship seems to have lingered a prejudice which we 
may conned with the growing authority of the Bible as 
against the Tradition that preceded it. St. Hilary found 
that in his time the Gauls disliked hymns. 81 In Spain as 
late as 561 the Council of Braga decreed that "outside of 
the psalms . . . of the Old and New Testament no poetical 
composition shall be sung in church" (canon 12). On 
the other hand, the Council of Agde (in Gaul) ordered in 
506 the daily singing of hymns both morning and evening 
(c. 30) : while in 567 the Council of Tours permitted the 
use not only of "Ambrosian hymns" but of others as well, 
"on condition that the names of the authors are inscribed 
at the top" (c. 23). Even in Spain the prejudice against 
hymns finally died out: for in 633 the 6th Council of 
Toledo decreed : "Let none of you henceforth objecl to 
hymns composed in praise of GOD : but let Gaul and Spain 
celebrate them alike. They are to be excommunicated 
who dare to reject hymns" (c. I3). 82 

The Latin hymnody of the West was to assume a very 
definite form of its own. But this form was not discovered 
quite immediately. To the earliest period, the period of 
experiment, belongs the greatest of all Latin non-Scrip- 
tural hymns, the Te Deum laudamus. The date and author- 



ship of this were long in dispute : for the story which tells 
that it was improvized by St. Ambrose and St. Augustine 
when the former baptized the latter is, of course, a mere 
legend. But it is now generally held to have been written 
by Niceta, missionary Bishop of Remesiana, in Dacia, at 
the end of the fourth century; though some recent 
scholars allege reasons for believing that the first part of it 
is of considerably earlier date. 83 The earliest testimony to 
its liturgical use is in the Rule of St. Benedict in the first 
half of the sixth century. 

The hymn in its original form concludes with the words 
"in glory everlasting" ; the subsequent verses being suf- 
frages in the form of versicle and response that came to be 
appended to it. It is written in prose : but its three 
"strophes" are clearly marked and have a very definite 
structure, as will be seen from the following setting-out of 
it in the original Latin, based on Dr. Burn : 

Te Deum laudamus, te Dominum confitemur, 

Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. 

Tibi omnes angeli, tibi coeli et universae potestates, 

Tibi Chembin et Seraphin incessabili voce proclamant : 

Sanftus, SanEtus, Santtus Dominus JDeus Sabaoth, 

Pleni sunt coeli et terra majestatis gloriae tuae. 

Te gloriosus apostolorum chorus, 

Te prophetarum laudabilis numerus, 

Te martyrwn candidatus laudat exercitus. 

Te per orbem tenarum santta confitetur ecclesia : 

Patrem immensae majestatis, 

Venerandum tuum verum et unigenitum Filium, 

Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. 

Tu rex gloriae, Christe, tu Patris sempiternus es Filius, 
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem non horruisti Virginis uterum, 
Tu, devitto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna coelorum, 
Tu, ad dexteram Dei sedens in gloria Patris. judex crederis esse 

Te ergo quaesumus tuisfamulis subveni, 

Quos pretioso sanguine redemisti : 

Aeternafac cum santtis tuis gloria munerari. 



The Te Deum is a masterpiece that had no successor. In 
the hymns of St. Hilary we have a different sort of experi- 
ment, not masterly at all but equally unprolific. It was 
formerly the custom to attribute to Hilary some seven or 
eight hymns that have survived, including the Lenten 
Office Hymn Jesu, quadragenariae : but it is now agreed 
that none of these can be reckoned as his. In 1884, how- 
ever, a MS. was discovered at Arezzo, containing Hilary's 
treatise De mysteriis followed by three hymns with the 
heading Incipiunt hymni ejusdem "here begin hymns by 
the same author". All three are more or less incomplete : 
but it is now commonly agreed that all are genuinely from 
Hilary's hand. 84 The first two are constructed on an 
alphabetic acrostic one among other signs of Eastern 
influence. The third is in the metre known as Trochaic 
tetrameter the rhythm to which the marching-songs 
of the Roman legionaries were set ; and both in form and 
thought bears a curious resemblance to the great Pange 
lingua in that metre by Venantius Fortunatus, who was 
Hilary's successor some 200 years later as Bishop of 
Poitiers and wrote his biography. The same metre but 
in stanzas of two lines instead of three is also employed 
in a very ancient hymn, Hymnum dicat turbafratrum, which 
is described as Hilary's in the seventh-century Irish MS. 
called the Antiphonary ofBangor. Here there is more dispute 
as to Hilary's authorship than in the case of the Arezzo 
hymns : but a strong body of opinion pronounces in its 
favour. 85 None of these hymns, however, was destined to 
pass into general use in the West. They were not really of 
the stuff of which popular songs are composed ; but were 
rather (as Dr. Frere says) "the work of a pioneer who has 
not found the way along which progress is ultimately to 
be made". 86 

Very different is the case of St. Ambrose (340-397), who 
has been described as "the main founder of the original, 
simple, dignified, objective school of popular Latin 



hymnody which for so many ages prevailed over the 
Roman Empire and is still in use in the Divine Offices all 
over Europe". 87 It was to Ambrose, along with the great 
monastic leaders (Benedict, Caesarius) of a rather later 
period, that the vanquishing of the Western prejudice 
against hymns as non-Scriptural was due. His personal 
prestige was enormous. He was a man of vast energy and 
dauntless courage- it will be remembered how he re- 
fused communion to the great Emperor Theodosius until 
he had done penance for the massacre of thousands of 
innocent persons at Thessalonica. Of noble birth and 
eminent at once as leader of men, as administrator and as 
theologian (he ranks as one of the four "Western Fathers"), 
Ambrose raised his see to a position of such authority that 
it has been said by Duchesne that in his time and that of 
his immediate successors "the Western episcopate acknow- 
ledged a double hegemony : that of the Pope and that of 
the Bishop of Milan". 88 It is thus not surprising that his 
hymns at once achieved so great a vogue that the Arians 
accused him of having "bewitched the people". 89 Their 
form was austerely simple and was couched in the metre 
called Iambic dimeter whence later hymns framed in 
similar fashion came to be called "Ambrosian". 90 The 
matter, too, corresponds to the form. As Archbishop 
Trench has said : 

The passion is there, but it is latent and represt. . . . [There 
is] no softness, perhaps little tenderness ; but ... a rock-like 
firmness, the old Roman Stoicism transmuted into that nobler 
Christian courage which encountered and at length overcame 
the world., 81 

Of the numerous hymns formerly attributed to St. 
Ambrose 92 the authenticity of three is beyond possibility 
of cavil : for they are quoted textually by his contemporary 
and friend, St. Augustine. These are : a morning hymn, 
Aeterne mum conditor', 93 an evening hymn, Deus creator 
omnium,* 'Creator of the earth and sky' J4Q ; and a hymn 

5 1 


for the third hour, Jam surgit horn tertia. 95 In regard to a 
fourth Augustine's attestation is doubtful : but we have 
early and wide evidence from other sources. This is 
Intende qui regis Israel, 96 which, with v. i omitted, figures 
as the great Christmas hymn, Veni redemptor gentium, 'Come, 
Thou Redeemer of the earth' |i4=**ig=*55. To these 
four may be added two others which also have very early 
attestation, viz. another morning hymn, Splendor paternae 
gloriae,^ 'O splendour of GOD'S glory bright' t5 2== * 2 
**2, and a hymn for Epiphany, Inluminans altissimus. 98 

A second group of eight hymns may also be assigned 
with some confidence to St. Ambrose, despite the lack of 
such early attestation as is forthcoming in the case of the 
first group. Both groups equally form part of the tradi- 
tional collection of hymns in use at Milan ; the hymns of 
the second group, like those of the first,' are written in 
Iambic dimeter and consist of eight verses of four lines 
each ; while they exhibit many resemblances in thought 
and expression to St. Ambrose's prose writings. Of these 
eight hymns one is for Easter, six are for saints' days, while 
the eighth, Aeterna Christi munera, 9 'The eternal gifts of 
Christ the King', supplies the two hymns bearing that 
title found in most Western Breviaries (though, rather 
strangely, not in that of Sarum) ; one selection of lines 
providing the hymn for Apostles, **8i, *430, |i75, and 
another that for Martyrs, **87=*444. 

Concerning a third group of hymns four in number 
popularly attributed to St. Ambrose there is more 
doubt. All are in current use both in the Breviary and in 
our English hymn-books. They are : (i), (2), (3) the well- 
known hymns for Terce, Sext and None, *g~n **4~6, 
t255, 261-2, and (4) the hymn for Virgins, Jesu corona 
Virginum, 'Jesu, the Virgins' crown' *455, t I 9 2 ) **95. 100 
They form part of the Milanese tradition and resemble 
the authentic hymns of Ambrose in metre and style ; but 
besides the difference in the number of verses (three or 



four instead of eight) there are external reasons that 
militate against our regarding them as his. 

Such questions in any case are of secondary importance. 
The essential fads stand firm, that not only do we 
owe to St. Ambrose the recognition of hymns as an inte- 
gral part of the public worship of the Western Church, 
but also that it was he who laid down the lines on which 
Latin hymnody was mainly to develop in the centuries 

Composed (says the accomplished historian of Christian 
Latin poetry, Mr. F. J. E. Raby) with the practical aim of 
expounding the doctrines of the Catholic faith in a manner 
sufficiently simple to capture the imagination of the unlearned, 
the hymns of Ambrose possess at the same time the admirable 
qualities of dignity, directness and evangelical fervour. . . . 
[They] reflect the mind of the great teacher of the Latin 
Church." 1 

Some 100 hymns survive of the so-called "Ambrosian" 
kind the work of Ambrose himself and of his imitators 
during the next 200 years. These hymns represent the 
staple type of the Latin Office Hymns ; and were to be 
distributed broad and wide among the Breviaries of every 
part of Western Christendom. "St. Ambrose," says M. 
Gastoue, "fixes henceforth a literary and musical form of 
which the rhythm and the melodies are easily remem- 
bered : the Ambrosian hymn is musically a true type of the 
chanson populaire." 102 However little like it they may seem 
to our modern ears, these early hymns were in fad genuine 
folk-songs, and continued to be so as long as Latin re- 
mained a living language. It was only later that they be- 
came perforce a "poetry of the church and cloister" : 103 
and even then their metrical and verse structure was to 
perpetuate itself in the vernacular hymnody of many 
lands. What else is the "Long Measure" in which so many 
of our hymns are written than the "Ambrosian hymn" 
in an English guise ? 



The typical form of these hymns, then, is a series of 
verses of four lines each, written in Iambic dimeter. The 
metres of classical prosody were now for the most part 
abandoned. To some extent, as Archbishop Trench sug- 
gests, this may have been because of their association with 
Paganism and its preoccupation with the merely finite and 
temporal. 104 But the principal reason, no doubt, lay in 
the general breakdown, in the decay of the old classical 
culture, of the distinctions in the quantity of vowels and of 
the metrical structures based upon them. These structures 
were even more precarious in Latin than in Greek. The 
classical metres were not indigenous in Italy, but had been 
introduced as a copying of Greek models. Their scansion 
always involved an element of elaboration and artifici- 
ality : and, as the domination of the classical tradition 
loosened amid the decay of the old Roman polity, a 
simpler and more natural type of prosody (which no doubt 
had existed all along in the songs of the people) began to 
assert itself a prosody based not on quantity but on 
accent. 105 In this connection it must be remembered that 
the hymns of the Church were not written for the literary 
delectation of the cultured few, but to meet the devotional 
needs of the people. Thus it was natural that these hymns 
should conform more and more to the new type of accen- 
tual versification : and the triumph of this was assisted by 
the ease with which its simple and obvious metrical struc- 
tures could be made to serve the purposes of congrega- 
tional singing. Along with this substitution of accent for 
quantity went another change the introduction of 
rhyme. This is not yet present in the authentic hymns of 
Ambrose : but it is found in hymns of a slightly later date. 
"It was," says Archbishop Trench, "the well-nigh instinc- 
tive result of the craving after periodic recurrence, propor- 
tion, limitation, the desire to mark and make distinctly 
noticeable to the ear those limits and restraints which the 
verse, for its own ultimate good, imposes upon itself." 106 



In a classical metre like the hexameter this object had been 
secured by the fixed dactyl and spondee at the end of a 
line : in the accentuated verse the same purpose of mark- 
ing the close was achieved by the use of rhyme. "Indeed," 
as Dr. Guest pointed out long ago, "no people have ever 
adopted an accentual rhythm without also adopting 
rhyme." 107 A further recommendation of rhyme, especi- 
ally in a day when books were scarce and costly, was the 
assistance that it lent to memory. 

The example of Ambrose determined not only the form 
of Latin liturgical hymnody but its spirit as well. It is a 
spirit grave, severe, and giving little scope for the poetic 
imagination to soar. Alike to the student of pure letters 
and to the connoisseur in religious emotions, these ancient 
hymns of the Church will appear as somewhat of a valley 
of dry bones. Their rugged and often pedestrian diction is 
wedded to an uncompromising practical morality and to 
an austerely objective concentration on the dogmas and 
mysteries of the Faith. "These solemn old hymns," says 
Dr. Bigg, "are strong because they are not the outpouring 
of individual emotion but an attempt to realize the 
majesty of GOD." 108 They represent the reaction of 
ascetic Christianity from the license and frivolity of 
Paganism, the "purging out of the old leaven" that had 
to precede the return of a now sanctified gaiety to the 
world iii the joyous carollings of the Franciscan revival. 109 
Their analogues in the world of art are the stern and 
massive outlines of Romanesque architecture and the 
stiff, grim, almost intimidating mosaics that stare at the 
beholder from the apses and friezes of the churches of 
Ravenna. In poetry and art alike we are conscious of a 
failure of the old technique : but this is not the whole 
secret of the change there is an element of deliberate 
choice as well. The essential quality of both is hieratic : they 
breathe the spirit of the great and austere pontiffs and 
abbots who were rebuilding the old imperium of Rome into 

E 55 


a new shape and so laying the foundations of the mediaeval 

This does not mean that the Christian poetry of the age 
between Ambrose and Gregory the Great was incapable 
of clothing itself in a more genial and imaginative guise. 
Indeed the most famous writers of hymns in order of time 
after Ambrose was a poet of very different calibre. But 
Prudentius was hardly in intention a hymn-writer at all. 
His poems were to contribute considerably to the hym- 
naries of the Western Church, but only after undergoing 
a process of selection and abbreviation. Rather, he was a 
Christian lyrist of the same kind as George Herbert and 
John Keble. His purpose is not to provide a vehicle of 
liturgical devotion, but to voice the sentiments evoked in a 
pious and meditative soul by a contemplation of the 
mysteries and practices of the Faith and the achievements 
of its heroes. In their original form his poems are too long 
to be suitable for use as hymns. They are also framed too 
closely on the model of the classical tradition, the metres 
of which they employ in considerable variety ; though 
even here we see the vanquishing of quantity by accent in 
frequent violations of correct usage such as e.g. delibutus 
and margaritum. Within his own rather restricted limits, 
. Prudentius is a genuine poet, with real qualities of grace 
and tenderness mingled with a kind of "fairy-tale" 
romanticism. Dr. T. R. Glover even goes further and 
describes him as "the first really great Christian poet" ; 
and adds : "The more one studies his contemporaries, the 
more one admires him. Spiritually and intellectually he 
far outstrips the heathen poets, and in poetic insight, grace 
and mastery of his materials he is far above the Chris- 
tians." ! ! But for this very reason he lies outside the main 
current of early Western hymnody. 

What little information we have concerning Prudentius 
is derived from his own writings. Born c. 348, he was a 
native of northern Spain, and after practising at the Bar 



entered the civil service, in which he rose to a position of 
some importance. In his 57th year he retired and devoted 
himself henceforth to using in the service of Christ the 
poetic faculty with which he was endowed. He himself did 
not overrate this. In the preface to the Peristephanon he 
writes as follows (I use Dr. Glover's beautiful translation 
with his permission) : 

Yet has Christ a need of me, 
Though but a moment's space I have my station ; 

Earthen vessel though I be 
I pass into the Palace of Salvation. 

Be the service ne'er so slight, 
GOD owns it. Then, whatever Time is bringing, 

This shall still be my delight 
That Christ has had the tribute of my singing. 111 

Not long after his retirement he went to Rome to pre- 
sent some petition to the Emperor Honorius. The journey 
he turned into a pilgrimage, visiting every famous shrine 
on the way and in Rome itself. The fruit of his experiences 
was the collection of 14 poems called Peristephanon or 
'Martyr-Garlands'. These display a true Spaniard's love 
of the saints and of the gory details of their martyrdoms, 
besides throwing much light on the devotional practices of 
the age. Another collection of 12 poems is called Cathe- 
merinon, The Christian's Day,' and deals with the duties 
and observances of the devout life. It is from these books 
that the hymns of Prudentius are derived which have 
passed into liturgical use. His other poems are didaclic 
theological treatises, written in passable hexameters, and 
need not concern us here. 

In the curtailed form in which they appear in the Latin 
Breviaries a number of Prudentius's poems have been 
translated into English and are widely used. The finest of 
all, perhaps, is the grand, rolling Christmas hymn in 
Hilary's Trochaic tetrameter, Corde natus, 112 'Of the 
Father's love begotten' *56 ** 146=1613. The refrain 



Saeculorum saeculis, 'Evermore and evermore,' is not part 
of the original, but was added when it was adapted for 
liturgical use. Other familiar hymns of his are sola 
magna urbium, 'Earth hath many a noble city' * 76=140, 
and the hymn for Holy Innocents, Salveteflores martyrum, 1 * 3 
'Sweet flow'rets of the martyr band' *68=f 34. The Latin 
versions of these are both centos from no. 12 in the 
Cathemerinon, beginning Quicunque Christum quaeritis, 
Another well-known hymn from Prudentius is the Sarum 
Compline hymn for Passiontide, Cultor Dei memento , 114 
'Servant of GOD, remember' f 104 **45- This is part of no. 
6 of the Cathemerinon, of which another cento, Ades Pater 
supreme, is the original of 'Father, most high, be with us' 
*493 (with its lovely tune from the German collection of 
1533 called Melodiae Prudentianae] . In addition, E.H. pro- 
vides translations of the three Breviary Office hymns for 
use at Lauds, Ales diet nuntius, u& 'The winged herald of 
the day' f53 ; Nox et tenebrae et nubila, 11 'Ye clouds and 
darkness, hosts of night' ^54 ; Lux ecce surgit aurea, 111 'Lo ! 
golden light rekindles day' f 55 ; together with a hymn for 
Martyrs, Beate Martyr, prospera, 'Blest Martyr, let thy 
triumph-day' f 1 ^, and the more elaborate and philo- 
sophical hymn for the departed, Deus ignee fans anim- 
arum, ll& 'Father of spirits, Whose Divine control' J352. 
This last was described by Archbishop Trench as "the 
grandest of them all". 

Two contemporaries of Prudentius have contributed to 
our hymn-books. One is St. Paulinus of Nola (353-431), 
the gentle and humble patrician of Gaul who, to the 
distress of his old teacher Ausonius, forsook the world and 
retired to Spain, thence to remove later to Nola in 
Campania, where he ended his days as parish priest of the 
shrine of Nola's saintly bishop Felix. Paulinus was devoted 
to Felix's memory and wrote every year a poem to help 
pilgrims to honour it. An excerpt from one of these poems 
beginning Ecce dies nobis is the original of 'Another year 



completed' t J 95- The other poet is [Caelius] Sedulius, 
who wrote about the middle of the fifth century. We know 
little about him : but it would appear that he remained a 
pagan until his later years and was subsequently ordained 
priest. Among other poems he wrote a long one in Iambic 
dimeter on the life of Christ called Paean alphabeticum de 
Christo and beginning A soils ortus cardine. 119 This is 
written in the form of an alphabetic acrostic : e.g. the 
2nd verse begins Beata auftor saeculi, the third Clausae 
puellae viscera, and so on. A cento of this is the original of 
the Christmas Office hymn, 'From east to west, from shore 
to shore' *483 |i8 **20 : but the translation does not pre- 
serve the alphabetic scheme. Another cento from the same 
poem (beginning with v. 8) is the Epiphany Office Hymn, 
Hostis Herodis impie, 'How vain the cruel Herod's fear' 
*75 **29=f38. Both of these were in general use in 
the Western Breviaries. 

Passing from the fifth to the beginning of the sixth 
century we may notice in passing Ennodius, Bishop of 
Pavia (473-521). A number of what Mr. Walpole calls 
his "laboured and unpoetical" hymns 12 have survived : 
but none is the original of any English hymn. Of more 
interest is his contemporary Elpis, said to have been the 
wife of the famous philosopher Boethius. 121 She is re- 
putedly the author of the Office Hymn for St. Peter and 
St. Paul, Aurea luce et decore roseo, 'With golden splendour 
and with radiant hues of morn' J226, which, if this doubt- 
ful attribution be correct, has the distinction of being the 
only Office Hymn written by a woman. Both these names, 
however, pale into insignificance beside that of another 
hymn-writer of the second half of the same century, 
Venantius Fortunatus, author of several of the most 
famous among Latin hymns. 

Fortunatus was born c. 530 at Treviso in northern Italy. 
While a student at Ravenna he was threatened with 
blindness : but his sight was restored (as he believed) 



through the application of oil taken from the lamp that 
burned before the altar of St. Martin of Tours in a 
Ravennese church. This led him to go on pilgrimage to 
the saint's shrine at Tours : and in Gaul he remained for 
the rest of his days "a kind of halcyon on the dangerous 
Prankish seas", to borrow Miss Helen WaddelPs charming 
description of him. 122 At first he journeyed here and there 
in leisurely fashion, visiting the houses of the great, whose 
hospitality he repaid by writing graceful trifles in verse, 
and following for a time the royal train of King Sigebert 
of Austrasia. But in 567 he met the fascinating ascetic, 
Rhadegunda, Glotaire of Neustria's "reluclant queen", 
who had retired to Poitiers and founded a monastery 
there. Captivated by her spiritual charm he settled down 
by her side and later became a priest. He was finally made 
Bishop of Poitiers, c. 598, and died a few years later. 

The poetical work of Fortunatus varies widely both in 
quality and in range. Trench speaks of him as "one of the 
last who, amid the advancing tide of barbarism, retained 
anything of the old classical culture". 123 But his is a 
decadent classicism it could hardly be otherwise: 
indeed Mr. Raby prefers to regard him "not as the last of 
the Roman but as the first of the mediaeval poets". 1 - 24 
In his troubadour days, as we have said, he composed a 
good deal of light verse : but later he consecrated his muse 
to religious subjects, in treating which he rose, at his best, 
to heights of genuine inspiration, being sometimes rugged 
and grand, sometimes lilting and fanciful and gay. In the 
former manner his greatest achievement is the Passiontide 
Office Hymn at Vespers, Vexilla Regis prodeunt, 125 'The 
Royal banners forward go' *g6 J94 **44, written after 
the "Ambrosian" fashion in Iambic dimeter in verses of 
4 lines. This famous hymn is said to have been composed 
on the occasion of the solemn reception of a relic of the 
True Cross which the Emperor Justin II had given to 
Rhadegunda for her convent of Sainte Croix at Poitiers 



(Nov. 19, 569). Certainly its stately processional move- 
ment well befits such a solemnity ; and explains too the 
immense popularity which the hymn, wedded to its 
superb plainsong melody, enjoyed at the time of the 
Crusades. In Neale's translation (more or less altered) it 
finds a place in most Church hymnals : but a far finer 
version is that which appeared in Walter Blount's Roman 
Catholic manual, The [Compleat] Office of the Holy Week 
(1670 and 1687). A much altered form of this was 
included in The Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1687), 
from which it was adopted by Church Hymns (1903) and 
the Oxford Hymn Book. But the original form is far superior 
and, as it is very difficult of access, is here reprinted : 

Abroad the Regal Banners fly ; 
Now shines the Crosses mystery : 
Upon it life did death endure, 
And yet by death did life procure. 
Who, wounded with a direful spear, 
Did, purposely to wash us clear 
From stain of sin, pour out a flood 
Of precious water, mixed blood. 
Fully accomplisht are the things, 
David, in faithful Meeter, sings : 
Where he to nations does attest, 
GOD on a tree his reign possest. 
O lovely and refulgent tree, 
Adorn' d with purpled majesty ; 
CulPd from a worthy stock, to bear 
Those limbs which sanctified were. 
Blest tree, whose happy branches bore 
The wealth, that did the World restore : 
The beam, that did that body weigh, 
Which rais'd up Hell's expedled prey. 
Hail Gross, of hopes the most sublime, 
Now in this mourning Passion-time ; 
Improve religious souls in grace ; 
The sins of criminals efface. 
Blest Trinity, Salvation's spring ; 
May every soul Thy praises sing : 
To those Thou grantest conquest by 
The holy Gross Rewards apply. Amen. 126 


Another great hymn by Fortunatus, believed to have 
been written for the same occasion, is the Office Hymn at 
Martins and Lauds in Passiontide, Pange lingua gloriosi 
proelium certaminis, 12 ^, 'Sing, my tongue, the glorious 
battle.' This is written in Trochaic tetrameter, and must 
be distinguished from St. Thomas Aquinas's hymn with 
the same three opening words, which is clearly modelled 
on it. It was translated by Neale. His version, much 
altered, is used in *g7 **43- (J95 is a mainly new 
translation, fg6 Neale's original.) In using the hymn it 
is well to remember that v. 2 is based on a purely 
legendary story that the tree from which the Gross was 
made sprang from a seed of the Tree of Life in the Garden 
of Eden, and also that v. 3 in the words 

To the traitor's art opposing 
Art yet deeper than his own 

suggests a mode of presenting the doftrine of the Atone- 
ment (sometimes irreverently nicknamed the "mouse- 
trap" theory) which has been obsolete for centuries a 
criticism that applies to v. 5 of Vexilla Regis as well. A 
third hymn by Fortunatus deals with the same subje6l of 
the Cross, Crux beneditfa nitet. 128 It is " a beautiful weaving 
in of the image of the true Vine with the fact of the Cruci- 
fixion." Neale's version in a shortened and considerably 
rewritten form appears in **u8, 'Lo! the blest Cross is 

In the last-named hymn, written in elegiacs (i.e. alter- 
nate hexameters and pentameters) and "full of that strange 
and novel beauty with which Christian mysticism was 
learning to adorn the measures borrowed from the ancient 
world", the other, more picluresque and luxuriant side 
of Fortunatus's talent is revealed, notably in the lines 
that have been thus translated : 

Strong in thy fertile array, O Tree of sweetness and glory, 
Bearing such new-found fruit 'mid the green leaves of thy 



Stately thou rearest thy head by the streams of the clear- 
running waters, 

Shedding from flower-deck'd boughs leaves for the healing 
of men. 

But this side finds its fullest expression in the great Pro- 
cessional Proses, beginning Salve festa dies, which were 
widely used in the Middle Ages all over Europe and in their 
various English forms have won much popularity in the 
last generation or so. They are taken from a long'poem in 
elegiacs on the Resurrection, beginning Tempora florigero 
rutilant distintta sereno. 12 The complete poem paints a 
glowing picture of the coming of spring, regarded as a 
symbol of the New Life which came to the world with the 
rising of Christ from the tomb and as the tribute of Nature 
to her triumphant LORD. Though the subject of the poem 
thus refers really to Easter, three separate centos are found 
in the Sarum Processional for Easter, Ascension and 
Whitsunday respectively. The refrain of the first is by 
Fortunatus himself, while those of the other two are 
adapted to fit the festival they serve. The cento for Whit- 
sunday (apart from the refrain) has no reference to the 
coming of the Holy Spirit, though it presents a joyous 
picture of the countryside in early summer. For this 
reason, presumably, a very inferior substitute of much 
later date was provided in the York Processional. A.M. 
provides a translation of the three Sarum forms in clear- 
cut heroic couplets by Dr. A. J. Mason, *650, 652, 653 ; 
while P.H.B. supplies a version of the same three in the 
elegiacs of the original by the present writer, **i49, 151, 
152. It may be noted that the plainsong melody proper to 
all the Salves is one of exquisite and haunting beauty, 
though some may find it a little deficient in the quality 
of joy. E.H. gives the Sarum Proses for Easter and Ascen- 
sion, f624, 628, the York one for Whitsuntide, f630. 
These are written in the original metre by different trans- 
lators, and are wedded to the well-known tune Dr. 



Vaughan Williams composed for them. In addition to the 
three already mentioned the Sarum Processional provided 
Salves for Dedication, Corpus Ghristi, the Visitation, and 
the Name of Jesus : but these are of later date and very 
inferior, and have nothing to do with Fortunatus. A.M. 
and E.H. provide versions of that for Dedication, *747 
1634, P.H.JB. of those for Dedication and Corpus Christi, 
**i55, 1 6 1 ; though the latter is rather a free treatment of 
selected parts of its very debased original than a transla- 
tion in the strict sense. 

Before leaving Fortunatus, we may add that there 
appears to be some reason for attributing to him the 
ancient hymn in honour of the Blessed Virgin, Quern terra, 
pontus, aether a, 1 'The GOD Whom earth and sea and sky' 
*449 J2i4 **io6. 

One other name remains to be mentioned at this point 

a name among the most illustrious in Christian history 

that of Fortunatus' contemporary, Pope Gregory the 
.Great (540-604). The services rendered by Gregory to the 
codification and reform of the Church's music are beyond 
dispute ; even if subsequent generations chose to regard 
him as wholly responsible for a work which in fact he only 
began and set upon the lines on which it was to run. It 
was only natural, therefore, that tradition should assign 
to this "most versatile of Popes" a place among the 
writers of those Office Hymns (both words and music) 
which in his time and after were rapidly winning an 
established place in Christian worship. His Benedictine 
editors credit him with eight hymns, including several 
which in their English guise are in common use to-day 
(viz. fso ; the Sapphic f 165=43 5 *8y=t 6 6 5 t6 8 =*8g ; 
]-<ji=**7=*38). But none of these attributions rests on 
any satisfactory evidence : though (as we shall see) it is by 
no means forbidden to believe that the great Pope in- 
cluded the writing of hymns among his other accomplish- 
ments (see below > p. 7*1). 



Of the names that have been mentioned Prudentius is 
the only one that does not belong to Italy or Gaul and 
he was a hymn-writer only, as it were, by accident. The 
prejudice against hymns, we have seen, lingered longer in 
Prudentius's native country of Spain than elsewhere. But, 
once having come into line, Spain seems to have elecled 
to compensate for its late start by a special addition to 
hymns and fertility in composing them. Its liturgy 
called first 'Old Spanish', then 'Gothic', finally (after the 
Arab conquest) 'Mozarabic' was specially rich in 
hymns : and the collection of these which it embodied 
bears a decided national character. The figure most 
prominently identified with this liturgy was St. Isidore 
of Seville, who "seems", says Dreves, "to have done 
for the Spanish liturgy what Gregory did for the 
Roman". 131 "He was a younger contemporary of the 
famous Pope (d. 636) and was himself a writer of hymns. 
With the obsolescence of the Mozarabic Liturgy, however, 
the majority of its hymns were to pass out of use. 

Less important in a general way than the Spanish, but 
to the English student of greater interest, is another 
distinctively national collection that came into existence 
about the same time near our own shores in the Celtic 
Church of Ireland. Though situated on the furthest out- 
skirts of the Christendom of that time, the Church founded 
by Palladius and Patrick was to prove second to none in 
devotion and missionary ardour. From its earliest days it 
would appear to have been fertile in sacred song. The 
name of Patrick himself is associated with a celebrated 
song called Lorica or "Breastplate". It was not written in 
Latin but in Irish : but for convenience' sake something 
may be said about it here. Opinion is divided as to whether 
it is really his : but the majority of scholars see no reason 
why it should not be. 132 It is the best and probably the 
earliest of a number of similar "charm-hymns" which 
were a Christianized form of the old pagan runes intended 



to ward off evil. An ancient Irish preface 1 33 to it describes 
its use : 

It is a corslet of faith for the protection of body and soul. . . . 
Whosoever shall sing it every day with pious meditation on GOD, 
devils shall not stay before him .... It will be a safeguard 
against every poison and envy. It will be a defence to him 
against sudden death. It will be a corslet to his soul after dying. 

The same preface thus describes the occasion of its com- 
position : 

Patrick chanted this when the ambushes were set against 
him by [King] Loegaire that he might not go to Tara to sow 
the faith, so that [he and his monks] seemed before the liers-in- 
wait to be wild deer. 

It is becoming well-known in Mrs. Alexander's translation 
'I bind unto myself to-day' *655 jais. (The opening 
words of the original really mean 'To-day I arise.') But 
a finer though less exacl: version, "preserving", says Dr. 
Todd, "the toneand spirit of the original", is that made by 
the Irish poet James Clarence Mangan, 134 the author of 
that terrible and unforgettable poem, The Nameless One. 
Its irregular metrical structure, however, makes it un- 
suitable for use as a hymn. 

The earliest form of this Lorica is given in the eleventh- 
century MS. of the Irish Liber Hymnorum preserved at 
Trinity College, Dublin, But hymns are also to be found 
in a much older Irish MS. the famous Antiphonary of 
Bangor 135 (not the Welsh Bangor, but the Irish Bennchar), 
which dates from the end of the seventh century and is the 
oldest hymnal MS. in existence. This includes 12 hymns, 
of which one is the hymn ascribed to St. Hilary, Hymnum 
dicat turba fratrum, already mentioned, and another, in 
praise of St. Patrick, is attributed to the saint's friend and 
fellow- worker, St. Sechnall. But by far the most interesting 
of all is the 8th hymn, Sanfti venite, 136 which has become 
celebrated in Neale's translation, 'Draw nigh and take the 



Body of the Lord' *3i3 |3 7- This is shown by its title 
to be an Antiphona or Communio ad accedentes, to be used 
"when the priests" (of whom there would be many in 
an Irish monastery) "make their communion". The 
legendary story of its origin is thus given in the thirteenth- 
century Irish MS. called the Lebhar Breac, which describes 
how Patrick and Sechnall had a quarrel that was ended 
by mutual explanations : 

So then they made peace : and while they were going round 
the cemetery they heard a choir of angels chanting at the offer- 
ing in the church, and this is what they chanted, the hymn 
whose beginning is Sanffi venite, corpus Christi, etc. Wherefore 
from that time forward this hymn is sung in Ireland when one 
goes to Christ's Body. 137 

In S.P, a mangled version of Neale's translation (|s68) 
is set to a singularly lovely old Irish melody appropriately 
christened 'St. Sechnall'. 

Among the Irish saints the next most famous after 
Patrick, the great St. Columba, was also a sacred poet. 
His hymn, Altus Prosator (in reality rather a "cosmogonical 
and eschatological poem"), is an alphabetical composition 
of 24 stanzas and is to be found in the Irish Liber Hymn-. 
cram. 138 The significance of its ancient preface describing 
how it was written in return for a gift of "Hymns for the 
Week" sent by Gregory the Great will be considered in 
the next chapter. Had this gift anything to do with "the 
book of hymns for the week" written by the hand of 
Columba, concerning which his biographer, Adamnan, 
has a story to tell? Adamnan tells, too, how after the 
saint's death, "the mattins hymns being ended", his body 
was borne into the church. 139 


LATIN HYMNODY (continued] 

WE have examined the beginnings of Western 
hymnody and passed in review its leading ex- 
ponents between the fourth and the seventh cen- 
turies. We have now to trace the process by which hymns 
were not only constituted an integral part of the Church's 
services but came to be arranged in an ordered sequence 
for use at different times and seasons. It should be under- 
stood that hymns for a long time had no place in the 
Eucharist. The sung portions of the Mass were confined 
to Scripture (mainly to the psalms) and to such quasi- 
Scriptural unmetrical texts as the Sanffus and (later) the 
Gloria in excelsis, with the Greed. It was in connection with 
the Hour-services, which by the end of the fourth century 
were well on the way to becoming a regular institution in 
the larger churches, that hymns established themselves as 
a normal element in Divine worship. The evolution of 
these services was greatly stimulated by the monastic 
movement that spread rapidly over Western Europe 
during the fifth century and found its patriarch and law- 
giver in St. Benedicl in the sixth. It was then that the seven 
"Canonical Hours" assumed their permanent shape in the 
following sequence : ( i ) the night-service called Notturns 
(later called Mattins], followed by Lauds at daybreak; 
(2) Prime in the early morning ; (3), (4), (5) Terce, Sext and 
None, at 9, 12 and 3 respectively; (6) the evening service 
called Vespers ; (7) Compline, before retiring to rest. Of all 
these services hymns formed a part : and the Rules of St. 



Benedict (530) and of others gave explicit directions to 
this effect. 

The tracing of the successive stages in the assignment of 
specific hymns among these various Offices is a compli- 
cated and technical question which it is impossible to deal 
with adequately within the limits of this book. Those who 
are interested in the subject are referred to Dr. Frere's 
lucid and detailed treatment of it in the Introduction to 
the Historical Edition of Hymns A. and M. uo It must suffice 
to summarize briefly the conclusions there advanced. 

The earliest cycle of hymns for the different Offices of 
the week was the creation of the monasteries and was well- 
known in the time of St. Benedict and of his fellow-legis- 
lators, St. Gaesarius of Aries and St. Aurelian. Further, 
the learned German Jesuit, Father Blume, 141 has shown 
that this "primitive monastic" cycle is identical (so far as 
it goes) with that found in a group of five of the earliest 
existing hymnal MSS., written in the ninth century. In its 
earliest form it fell into two parts one for Eastertide, the 
other for the rest of the year. We have here the beginning 
of that distinction between "Proper" and "Common" 
which was later to receive wide extension in regard to all 
parts of the services. The hymns of this cycle include all 
the five hymns appropriate to the scheme that appear in 
the two classes of the hymns of St. Ambrose which are 
indubitably his, viz. Jam surgit, Hie est dies, Aeterne rerum, 
Splendor paternae, Deus Creator (see above, p. 51). Here 
appears, too, the Compline hymn, Christe qui lux es et 
dies, 2 'O Christ, Who art the Light and Day' *Q5 |8i 
**4i, which thus belongs to the earliest stratum of 
Western hymnody. Apart from these the list includes no 
hymns that have become familiar in English guise. Later 
the cycle was extended to 36 hymns in all by the addition 
of a number of hymns for the seasons, 143 which include 
for Christmas St. Ambrose's Intends qui r'egis Israel=Veni 
Redemptor gentium ; for Easter, Ad cenam Agni providi, 'The 



Lamb's high banquet' *I28 **54=fi25, and Aurora 
lucis raft'/fl^, 144 'Light's glittering morn' *ia6 **53=ji23 ; 
and (for the first time) a saint's day hymn, St. Ambrose's 
Aeternd Christi munera (for Martyrs). 

This cycle, however, was comparatively short-lived. It 
was presumably brought to England by the Benedictine 
St. Augustine of Canterbury, and the three hymns that 
appear in the eighth century Canterbury Psalter in the 
British Museum "the first English hymnal", as it has 
been called are proved by internal evidence to belong 
to it. But by the ninth century a new cycle had come into 
existence, at first side by side with th^old. For Blume goes 
on to show that besides the above-mentioned group of 
ninth-century MSS. containing the "primitive monastic 
cycle" there is a second, contemporary group, which pro- 
vides a cycle that is entirely different. These MSS., unlike 
the others, are all of Irish or English origin for which 
reason Dr. Frere christens the cycle contained in them the 
"Anglo-Irish cycle". Further, it is this new cycle which 
forms the nucleus and basis of the hymnal-scheme of all 
the subsequent Western Breviaries and of the Roman 
Breviary of the present day. It would appear, then, that 
by the end of the ninth century the "Anglo-Irish" cycle 
had won so complete a victory over its predecessor that 
the latter vanished entirely from the field. 

The only features common to the two cycles are the 
undisputed hymns of St. Ambrose, the Compline Christe 
qui lux es and the two Easter hymns, Ad cenam Agni and 
Aurora lucis. In the new cycle there appear for the first 
time a second Compline hymn, Te lucis ante terminum, 1 * 5 
'Before the ending of the day' *i5 ^264. **g, and the 
current hymns for Terce, Sext and None, 146 *g-i i **4~6 
[255, 261-2, with Jam surgit (Terce) from the earlier cycle 
as an "extra". There are also included the ferial hymns 
for the various days of the week at Vespers, Mattins and 
Lauds 147 (of which E.H. provides versions of the Vespers 



and Lauds series, f 49, 51, 58-62 ; 50 (M), 52-7), including 
3 by Ambrose and 3 by Prudentius. In the section for 
saints' days all the hymns included except one are found 
in English versions in E.H., viz. 180, 183, 175 (*43o), 
192 (*455), 182 (*756), 191. 148 The last two, written in 
Asclepiads and Sapphics respectively, mark the first 
appearance of hymns in the old classical metres instead of 
the Ambrosian Iambic dimeter. 

So far we seem to be on a fairly solid ground of fads. 
But when we go on to seek the explanation of this sudden 
and complete disappearance of a cycle consecrated by 
some four centuries of use, we enter the region of specula- 
tion and surmise. The provenance of the MSS. in which 
the new cycle is first found suggests that it had its origin 
in the British Isles. Blume finds further support for this 
theory in a statement made in an ancient Irish preface 149 
to St. Columba's hymn Altus Prosator, which represents 
the hymn as written in return for a set of hymns "for every 
night in the week" sent to the saint by Gregory the 
Great. These hymns, it is suggested, are none other than 
the hymns for Vespers that appear for the first time in the 
"Anglo-Irish cycle" and may well have been, at least in 
part, from the hand of Gregory himself. The suggestion is 
ingenious and interesting ; though of course it falls very 
far short of being proved. But we may admit that, if 
Gregory really had a hand in the new cycle, this would be 
an enormous recommendation of it and would greatly 
help its victory over its predecessor at first in our own 
islands and then, when it was carried by Irish and English 
missionaries to the Continent, all over the West and even 
in Rome itself. 

As a provision of "ferial" hymns for the week the new 
cycle was practically complete from the beginning : and 
here it received few additions. A Canterbury hymnal of 
the later tenth century, which forms part of the so-called 
"Bosworth Psalter" in the British Museum, adds four new 

F 71 


hymns two as summer alternatives to the others at 
Mattins and Lauds respectively, the Sapphic hymns, 
Node surgentes and Ecce jam, noffiis; 15 and two hymns for 
Compline, Jesu redemptor saeculi and Prudentius's Cultor 
Dei (see above, p. 58). To these the Sarum Use added two 
further Compline hymns, Jesu nostra redemptio and Salvator 
mundi : and the six were distributed among different 
seasons. All six appear in P.H.B., viz. 9^ (ferial), 23 (Christ- 
mas), 41 (Lent), 45 (Passiontide), 58 (Easter), 62 (Ascen- 
sion). The Mattins hymn appears, too, in P.H.B. as 'Let 
hearts awaken' (3). A.M., too, has all six Compline hymns, 
but the Passiontide one follows the alternative cento of 
Prudentius's original mentioned above (p. 58). E.H. 
contains four of the six Compline hymns (264, 81, 104, 144) 
and the Mattins Nole surgentes (165). 

It was to meet the requirements of the Church's year 
that the original cycle was to undergo a wide and pro- 
gressive expansion. Herein, in fadt, lay the special rationale 
of the liturgical hymn - "to define" (as Dom Cabrol 
says) "the, meaning of feasts or offices and in the concert 
of Divine praise to strike the note of the liturgical muse" 
not (he adds) in any wise to serve as "a kind of Christian 
Psalter", for "the Christian Psalter is the Psalter of 
David". 161 The requirements in question were of two 
kinds those concerned with the ecclesiastical seasons 
and those concerned with Saints' days. At first, with a few 
exceptions, provision was made for classes of saints only. 
Thus, apart from these exceptions, the earlier division was 
into two sections "Proper of Seasons" and "Common 
of Saints", to use the later technical terms. In regard to 
both of these the development was tolerably uniform all 
over Western Europe. But later the small group of indi- 
vidual saints recognized at first swelled into a vast multi- 
tude, whose claim to separate recognition produced a third 
division "Proper of Saints." Here local considerations 
largely held sway : and there is a wide range of variation. 



It is obviously impossible to deal with all the hymns 
that appear under these various categories in the 
mediaeval hymnals of Europe. Our concern here is only 
with the English Uses ; and especially with those hymns 
that have won a vernacular currency in our modern 
English hymn-books. Even so we shall not inflicl: on the 
reader's patience what would be little more than a dry 
catalogue of hymns. Those who are sufficiently interested 
in the subject are referred to the lists in Appendix B at the 
end of the volume, where the development of the scheme 
of English Office Hymns is summarily set forth, so far as 
the "Common of Seasons", the "Proper of Seasons" and 
the "Common of Saints" are concerned, together with the 
provision made for the most important feasts of individual 
saints. The list is arranged in three parallel columns, con- 
taining (i) the hymns in the Anglo-Irish cycle, (2) the 
Office Hymns prescribed in the tenth-century "Canter- 
bury Hymnal" mentioned above, (3) the Office Hymns 
in the Sarum Breviary. The few hymns found in the 
Primitive Monastic Cycle which survived into these later 
lists are indicated by the letters P.M. 

An examination of these lists will show that most of the 
hymns in the Canterbury Hymnal were retained in the 
Sarum books, though a certain number dropped out: 
while, on the other hand, additions were made, most of 
them presumably hymns written since the earlier list was 
compiled. The most striking omission is the beautiful 
"farewell to Alleluia" Alleluia duke carmen, 'Alleluia, 
song of sweetness' *8a f63 **32 which has won 
considerable favour with English congregations in Neale's 
version. The singing of this hymn formed part of a set of 
quaint and picluresque ceremonies. In the Church of 
Toul in north-east France the custom of "burying" 
Alleluia in a coffin with full funeral rites was observed as 
late as the fifteenth century. But in most places the cere- 
monies died out much earlier ; and the hymn disappeared 



with them. 152 In the Mozarabic rite a similar practice 
was conneded with the singing of the hymn (also found in 
the English Anglo-Saxon hymnals) Alleluia piis edite 
laudibus, 153 'Sing Alleluia forth in duteous praise' *2g6 
sung in this case not before Septuagesima but on the first 
Sunday in Lent. Here again the hymn died out with the 
ceremonies accompanying it. 

A further development of the English Office Hymns was 
due to the emergence of new festivals in the Kalendar. 
Chief among these is Trinity Sunday, the observance of 
which began in England earlier than elsewhere (the Low 
Countries possibly excepted) in the tenth or eleventh 
century. About the same time, too, it became customary 
to observe the festival of a church's Dedication. This gave 
room for the Urbs beata Hierusalem, 'Blessed city, heavenly 
Salem' *3g6 fiGg-yo **78 that "rugged but fine old 
hymn", as Trench calls it, which is found in the oldest 
extant MSS. of the ninth century and is probably con- 
siderably older still. 154 In the thirteenth century began 
the observance of Corpus Christi (instituted by Pope 
Urban IV in 1264), which led to the inclusion of three 
hymns written by St. Thomas Aquinas, of which more 
will be said shortly. The Feast of the Transfiguration and 
that of the Most Sweet Name of Jesus were later still 
(XIV th or XV th century). 

The same closing centuries of the Middle Ages also pro- 
duced a vast crop of hymns in honour of individual saints. 
In England, it is true, the number of these was not large : 
but abroad (to quote Dr. Frere) "the long row of volumes 
of Dreves and Blume, Analetta Hymnica Medii Aevi, show 
what immense labour was spent on the Continent in pro- 
viding second-rate festivals with third- or fourth-rate 
hymns". 155 

With such foreign developments we are not here con- 
cerned. But even confining ourselves, as we must, to the 
provision made in our own country to meet the more out- 



standing liturgical requirements, we are confronted with a 
fairly large corpus of hymns one, too, that, as a result 
of the Catholic Revival, is copiously if not completely 
represented in our Church hymnals. The value of these 
ancient hymns in their English dress will be variously 
assessed, and largely according to the store that we set by 
the idea of historical continuity in the Church's life and 
worship. To many the majority of them will appear heavy 
and dry and remote from the needs of the modern world. 
To others their use, at least in moderation, will be valuable 
as a link with -the Ecclesia Anglicana of an earlier day and 
also as supplying the objective and dogmatic element that 
most modern hymns lack. From the musical point of 
view, too, these hymns afford what many will regard as 
a welcome opportunity for introducing an element of 
plainsong into the services and plainsong in its most 
attractive and easily digested form. Many of the plainsong 
hymn-tunes are of exquisite and haunting beauty : and 
to ears attuned to our latter-day musical idiom they may 
hope to make an appeal to which Victorian ears were 
mostly insensible. In this connection attention may be 
drawn to Mr. J. H. Arnold's admirable little treatise, 
The Approach to Plainsong through the Office Hymn. 

In any case, in weighing the claims of these ancient 
hymns upon our attention and use, due regard must be 
paid to the fact that those familiar with them only through 
the medium of a translation can form but a very in- 
adequate idea of their real quality. For the structure and 
genius of the Latin and English languages are entirely 
different. To begin with, Latin abounds in deep and 
broad vowel-sounds ; while in English (at least of the 
"cultivated" variety) the lighter, "thinner" vowels pre- 
dominate. Again, Latin words are usually longer than 
their English equivalents, with the result that a translation 
lacks the rolling sonority of the original. It is this grand 
polysyllabic quality that makes Latin so incomparable as 



a liturgical language. No doubt our Book of Common 
Prayer has an immense literary beauty of its own : but the 
predominance of short words makes it a different sort of 
beauty from that of the Latin services. Compare the effect 
of the following clauses from the Gloria in excelsis in Latin 
and English respectively : 

Laudamns te, benedicimus te, adoranms te, glorificamus te, gratias 
agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. 

Here we have 15 .words, of which only 4 are mono- 

We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify 
Thee, we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory. 

Here are 21 words, of which no less than 18 are mono- 

The same difficulty occurs in the case of hymns ; but 
with the additional disadvantage that, in order to repro- 
duce the line- and verse-structure of the Latin, it is neces- 
sary to make up for the shortness of the English words by 
a continual "padding" of the sense. This is even allowing 
for the fact that in English the grammatical "persons" and 
"cases" are represented by pronouns and prepositions 
respectively and not by inflections a characteristic 
which in itself increases the monosyllabic effect. Take e.g. 
verse i of one of the most famous Latin hymns, setting it 
side by side with the English translation : - 

Jesu dulcis memoria, Jesu ! the very thought is sweet ; 
Dans vera cordis gaudia : In that dear name all heart-joys meet. 
Sed super mel et omnia But oh ! than honey sweeter far 
Dulcis eius praesentia. The glimpses of Thy presence are. 

Here are 15 words in the Latin to 26 in the English, with 
4 monosyllables in the former and 2 1 in the latter. Further, 
in line i 'very' is a makeweight, in line 2 'in that dear 
Name' is a repetition, while in lines 3 and 4 'far' and 'the 



glimpses of are additions which involve the total sacrifice 
of et omnia. Let it be added that all this is not intended to 
cast the slightest reflection on Neale's version. It merely 
serves to emphasize the obvious fact that the particular 
quality of the Latin original largely (however inevitably) 
evaporates in translation and all the more when we 
add to the other handicaps the loss of the booming Latin 
vowels. Experto crede ! 

Nor is this all. If Latin is more imposing in effect, it is 
at the same time easier to manipulate. The order of words 
in an English sense is with rare exceptions the "natural" 
order of "subject, verb, object". But in Latin it may be 
largely varied at the will of the writer. It is this, inciden- 
tally, that helps to give Latin its epigrammatic, "lapidary" 
quality which is one among other reasons why such a 
composition as the Lauda Sion is virtually untranslatable. 
Again, in the case of the mediaeval Latin hymn-writers 
the sense of verbal "flow" is assisted by the less emphatic 
stress of the accentuation a quality that has been 
inherited by the Romance languages derived from Latin. 
One of the greatest difficulties of the Englishman in learn- 
ing to speak French well is to acquire the characteristic 
"evenness" of its accentuation. It has been reasonably 
argued that it was the desire to obviate still further a "jog- 
trot" effect that prompted the repeated assignment in 
plainsong of the "neums" or note-groups to the weak and 
not to the strong syllables. The result seems strange to our 
ears when these melodies are sung to those English trans- 
lations which in this and other respects stretch them on a 
"Procrustean bed". A further consequence of this less 
marked accentuation is the license given to the mediaeval 
hymn-writer (and frequently used by him) to indulge in 
what modern prosody (like that of classical Latin) would 
describe as flagrant "false quantities". E.g. line 2 of the 
ancient Easter hymn, Aurora lucis, runs thus : 

Coelum laudibus intonat. 



which is as though an English poet were to scan 'radiance' 
as 'radiance'. 

Such, then, are the largely insuperable difficulties in the 
way of him who would translate these old Latin hymns 
into tolerable English verse. They do not indeed make his 
task futile : for many hymns that have won great and well- 
deserved popularity are of this sort. But such hymns must 
be judged on their own literary merits, which are bound 
to be in great measure different from the merits of the 
originals. And if no decent version exist, it is better to 
forego the use of a hymn altogether, however ancient and 
venerable it may be in the language in which its author 
wrote it. Many of the translations in the mid-Victorian 
Anglo-Catholic hymnals do credit to the respecl: for 
antiquity of those who wrote and sang them. They say 
less for their literary taste. 


Of the Office Hymns that we have been describing the 
vast majority are anonymous. Even the date of each is 
largely a matter of conjecture. It is obvious that any hymn 
must be at least as old as the date of the MS. in which it 
first makes its appearance. An early date seems to be 
indicated by the inclusion of a hymn in the traditional 
"Ambrosian" collection at Milan ; and also by the style of 
versification, if this is mefrical rather than accentual. But 
further than this we cannot go. In regard to a small 
minority, however, it is possible to name the author. Of 
these authors some have been already spoken of those 
who lived up to the end of the sixth century. We may now 
say something concerning those who lived subsequently 
to that date. 

The earliest of these in order of time is an Englishman, 
the Venerable Bede (673-735). Besides the York Office 
hymn at Mattins for Ascension, Hymnum canamus gloriae, 
'Sing we triumphanthymns of praise' fi46**6i, anumber 



of other hymns by him survive, of which two are becoming 
familiar in English : the lilting hymn for Holy Innocents, 
Hymnum canentes gloriae, 'The hymn for conquering martyrs 
raise' j"35, and a hymn written in honour of St. John the 
Baptist, Praecursor altus luminis, ' The great forerunner of 
the morn' *4i5=J225. Historian, biographer, exegetist, 
philosopher, mathematician, as well as sacred poet, 
Bede was the greatest scholar of his time in Europe 
a living encyclopaedia of all the learning of his age. 
His whole life was passed in a monastery first at Wear- 
mouth and then at Jarrow. Yet he was in touch with all 
the events of his time ; and in this way was able to collect 
the materials of the work on which his fame chiefly rests 
his great Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. At the 
end of this he gives a list of his own works, which includes 
"A Book of Hymns in several sorts of metre or rhyme." 

In the later part of the eighth century Western Europe 
passed from the darkness and brutality of the Merovingian 
period into the comparative sunlight of the so-called 
"Carolingian Renaissance", which found its centre in the 
court of the Emperor Karl the Great (or "Charlemagne") 
and its famous "palace school", with the great English 
scholar Alcuin at its head. Alcuin himself was a sacred 
poet : and the majority of his circle seem to have practised 
hymn-writing, though not apparently to any marked 
extent perhaps (as Dreves suggests) owing to the fact 
that the Roman liturgy, which at this time was spreading 
rapidly throughout the West in place of the old local rites, 
had not yet admitted the use of hymns. 156 Even Charle- 
magne himself has been numbered among hymn-writers, 
by the attribution to him of Veni Creator Spiritus : but this 
is no longer taken seriously. Three poets, however, who 
at various times came within his orbit are worthy of 
mention. _. 

The first is the Italian Paul the Deacon (?730-?7Q9). 
He had been tutor to a Lombard princess, and after the 



fall of the Lombard monarchy in 774 entered the cele- 
brated monastery of Monte Gassino. The total loss of his 
property led him to make appeal to Charlemagne, who 
as the price of granting his suit insisted on his bringing 
his poetic gifts to adorn his own court. Later he was 
allowed to return to Monte Cassino, and wrote his History 
of the Lombards. He is reputedly the author of the Sapphic 
hymn in honour of John the Baptist, Ut queant laxis, 'Let 
thine example, holy John, remind us' f 223=**! 08, 
though his authorship has been questioned. 157 This 
hymn is of special interest to musicians because the tune 
associated with it provided the "sol-fa" nomenclature of 
the notes of the scale. The tenth century musical theorist, 
Guido of Arezzo, observed that the half verses of this 
melody began in turn with these notes in an ascending 
order, thus : 

Ut que - ant lax - is Re - son - a - 


i^J* TTl JEH 

Mi - ra gest - or - um Fa - mu - '. 

- or - um 


Sol-ve pol- lu -ti La -bi - i re - a - turn Sane- te Jo -han-nes 

He therefore named these notes by the syllables on which 
they fall in the hymn, and (with the addition of si, and with 
do sometimes substituted for ut) they are in use to this day. 

A younger contemporary of Paul was St. Theodulph of 
Orleans, author of the Palm Sunday hymn, 'All glory, laud, 
and honour', concerning which more is said below. But 
the best-known name in Garolingian hymnody is that of 
Hrabanus Maurus 158 (c. 776-856). Brought up at the great 
monastery of Fulda, he studied at Tours under Alcuin, 
returning later to Fulda to become head of the monastery 



school. He became Abbot in 822, then (847) Archbishop 
of Mainz. The two Office Hymns for Michaelmas, Tibi, 
Christe, splendor Patris, 'Thee, O Christ, the Father's splen- 
dour' J24i=** 1 19, and Christe, santtorum decus angelorum, 
'Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels' J242=**i2i, 
have been attributed to him, as well as that for the Purifi- 
cation, Quod chorus vatum, 'All prophets hail thee' |2o8= 
**ioi : but there is considerable doubt in each case. 159 
On the other hand, there are cogent grounds for solving 
definitely in his favour the vexed question of the author- 
ship of one of the most famous of all hymns, Veni Creator 
Spiritus, 16 which has been ascribed to a number of 
writers, including not only Charlemagne but St. Ambrose 
and St. Gregory the Great. 

Of the Veni Creator there are a number of translations 
into English. The best-known is the beautiful 'Come, 
Holy Ghost, our-souls inspire' *I57 t x 53 **^5, by Bishop 
John Cosin (1564-1672). This appeared for the first time 
in his Collection of Private Devotions in the Ancient Church 
(1627), and was later accorded the honour of inclusion in 
the services for the Ordination of Priests and the Consecra- 
tion of Bishops in the Prayer Book of 1 66 1. It is, however, 
rather a "skilfully condensed paraphrase" than a trans- 
lation in the strict sense. Another paraphrase, but far 
from condensed, is provided for alternative use in the 
same services, 'Come, Holy Ghost, Eternal GOD' *5o8. 
This, in dull Common Measure, is a very pedestrian affair 
and is considerably more than twice the length of the 
original. It appeared (in rather a different form from the 
present) in both the Ordinals of Edward VI. Closer trans- 
lations than either of these are that by Robert Bridges, 
'Come, O Creator Spirit, come' fi54, and one based on 
Caswall, 'Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest' *347 **66. 
Dryden's 'Creator Spirit, by Whose-aid' "[156, is another 
expanded paraphrase : but it is a good one of its kind, and 
its eighteenth-century style and its shape (6 lines instead of 



4) make it an appropriate vehicle for Attwood's elegantly 
beautiful tune, written for Cosin's version for use at an 
Ordination in St. Paul's in 1831. The plainsong melody 
(probably the most familiar of all such melodies to 
English ears) has been associated with the hymn since the 
latter's first known appearance, but is itself older than the 
hymn and was previously used for an Easter hymn by St. 
Ambrose. 1 6 1 

In addition to his own reputation as a hymn- writer 
Hrabanus Maurus is further interesting as supplying the 
link between Charlemagne's "palace-school" and the 
famous poetical and musical "School of St. Gall", which 
will be mentioned in more than one connection in these 

By the eleventh century the cycle of Office Hymns was 
tolerably complete, so far as the provision made for the 
major requirements of the Church's year was concerned. 
We need only mention three more writers, all represented 
in our English hymnals. St. Fulbert of Chartres, author 
of the Easter hymn, Chorus novae Hierusalem, 'Ye choirs of 
new Jerusalem' fi22=**52=*i25, was a distinguished 
scholar and poet, who became Bishop of Chartres c. 1007 
and died in 1028. Of him Mr. Raby has said that "he 
made the cathedral school [of Chartres] the intellectual 
glory of eleventh-century France.. . . . He exercised a 
magical influence over his pupils. Alike as Master and as 
Bishop he was pre-eminent in his generation". 162 Philippe 
de Grevia (d. 1236), Chancellor of the church of Paris, 
wrote the long hymn Collaudemus Magdalenae, 'Sing we 
all the joys and sorrows' J230-i=Jm (abbreviated), 
assigned by Sarum in three portions to St. Mary Magda- 
lene's day. The last, the great St. Thomas Aquinas, will 
be dealt with in the next seclion when we come to speak 
of his Sequence for Corpus Christi, Lauda Sion. A word 
may be added concerning another famous hymn, Jesu 
dulcis memoria, 'Jesu, the very thought is sweet' *iy7 1238 



**ii5. This was long attributed to St. Bernard of 
Glairvaux (1091-1153): but the ascription cannot be 
substantiated, and its real authorship remains an un- 
solved mystery. 163 In its liturgical form it is a cento taken 
from a long poem of over 50 stanzas. The lovely plain- 
song melody originally belonged to the Christmas hymn, 
Christe Redemptor omniun, f 17 **2i. In the period imme- 
diately preceding the Reformation another cento, be- 
ginning with the same first line, was adopted in England 
as a Sequence at Mass, and in the printed editions of the 
Sarum Gradual, issued in 1527, 1528 and 1532, is set to 
the beautiful melody known as the 'Rosy Sequence' 1238. 
Before concluding this sedion it is necessary to speak of 
a number of Latin hymns which do not come within the 
category of Office Hymns but have enjoyed wide use and 
fame and are familiar in English versions. We have already 
spoken of the Processional Proses of Fortunatus and his 
imitators, beginning Salve festa dies. Another great pro- 
cessional is that for Palm Sunday, Gloria, laus et honor. 
This is said to have been written by the distinguished poet 
and prelate St. Theodulph, Bishop of Orleans 164 (d. 821) 
in the prison at Angers in which he was confined by King 
Louis the Pious, and to have been sung by him through 
the window of his cell while the King was passing in the 
Palm Sunday procession, with the gratifying result that 
he was at once set at liberty. The story is apocryphal : but 
Theodulph's authorship of the hymn need not be ques- 
tioned. The ceremonial attending the singing of it as part 
of the Palm Sunday solemnities was minutely laid down 
in the mediaeval rites. At Sarum the first four verses were 
to be sung by seven boys standing in 'a very elevated 
position on the south side of the church'. 165 Neale pro- 
duced two translations of parts of the Latin original, 
which ran to 39 verses. One, 'Glory and honour and laud', 
is in the original elegiac metre and forms the basis of the 
version in **i48 (f62i gives an abbreviated version). 



The other, 'All glory, laud and honour' *g8 |622 is in, and is that in general use. The familiar modern 
tune to this had originally nothing to do with Palm 
Sunday, but is that of the German chorale, Valet ich will dir 
geben ('Farewell, I gladly bid thee,' The Choral Book) 
137). This, a hymn for the dying, was written by Valerius 
Herberger in 1613 during a pestilence that devastated the 
town of Fraustadt where he lived, the melody being sup- 
plied by his precentor, Melchior Teschner. The original 
associations of the tune are thus completely different from 
those evoked by Neale's "cheerful and festive" hymn. 
But hymn-tunes are plastic things : and much depends on 
pace and manner of performance. 

The joys of the heavenly Jerusalem were a favourite 
theme with mediaeval hymn- writers. We have already 
spoken of Urbs beata. Less well known but hardly less 
ancient is beata Hierusalem, 'O Jerusalem the blissful' 
*6o2. This is of Mozarabic origin and maybe traced back 
at least to the ninth century. More generally popular than 
either are two compositions that were both written in the 
twelfth century. One of these, quanta qualia, 'O what 
their joy and their glory must be' *235 14^5 **i53, is the 
work of St. Bernard's bete noir, the celebrated theologian 
Pierre Abelard 166 (1079-1142), at one time the idol of 
the schools of Paris. It formed part of a complete hymn- 
book that he wrote for the Abbey of the Paraclete, of 
which his wife, Heloi'se, was abbess, and was designed for 
use at Vespers on Saturday evening. The familiar majestic 
tune sung to Neale's version has nothing to do with 
Abelard's hymn, but is an adaptation, made to fit the 
former in the Hymnal Noted of 1854, from a late plainsong 
melody of the seventeenth or eighteenth century which 
appears in Aynes's edition (1808) of La Feillee's Methods 
de Plain Chant as a setting of a hymn in a different metre 
(Alcaics), Regnator orbis. 1 1 Besides Neale's version there 
is a beautiful rendering of Abelard's original in Miss 


Waddell's Mediaeval Latin Lyrics, beginning 'How mighty 
are the Sabbaths', which has already been taken over for 
use as a hymn by the Clarendon Hymnal. 

Of slightly later date than Abelard's poem is the com- 
position represented by a well-known quartet of English 
hymns : 'Brief life is here our portion,' 'The world is very 
evil,' 'For thee, O dear, dear country' and 'Jerusalem the 
golden' *225~8 JS? 1 ? 495> 392 3 412. These are taken from 
a partial translation by Neale of an immensely long poem 
written c. 1145 by a monk of Gluny called Bernard of 
Morval or Morlaas (Bernard of Morlaix is certainly 
wrong). The original poem was not a hymn at all. It 
was entitled De contemptu mundi, l68 and was "a bitter satire 
on the fearful corruptions of the age", to which its glowing 
pictures of the glories of heaven served as a contrast. It 
was written in a lilting metre called the daclylic hexa- 
meter, complicated by a rhyming system that made it so 
difficult to manage that the author says that only by a 
special inspiration could he have maintained it through 
so long a poem. The opening line of the whole is scanned 
thus : 

Hora novissima || tempora pessima |] sunt : vigilemus, 

or in a not very successful mid-Viclorian translation : 

These are the latter times, |j these are not better times ; || let 
us stand waiting. 

We have already referred to the new note that came 
into Christian song through the influence of St. Francis. 
Bishop Creighton has said that "Francis was a poet whose 
life was his poem". In his early years he had been a gay 
young troubadour : and the troubadour spirit never left 
him, though after his conversion it was transfigured and 
lifted to a higher plane. Walter Pater and Emile Gebhart 
have written of the anticipation of the Renaissance proper 
which occurred at the end of the twelfth and beginning of 
the thirteenth centuries, "a Renaissance within the middle 



age itself". Of this earlier Renaissance St. Francis was a 
genuine produd, though very much after his own fashion. 
In him and his first followers the note of joy returned to 
Christianity joy in Nature, joy in the simple yet august 
sandities of human life and destiny, joy in the all-em- 
bracing Love of GOD of which all these are a reflection. 
It is the spirit to which Francis himself gave utterance in 
his Canticle of the Sun (written in Tuscan), and which in 
his followers gave birth to the copious and lovely carol- 
literature of the later Middle Ages. The latter is repre- 
sented in collections of carols rather than in our hymn- 
books : but St. Francis's canticle is becoming known in 
Mr. Draper's metrical translation, 'All creatures of our 
GOD and King' +439. At the same time in Francis, unlike 
other representatives of the Renaissance earlier and later, 
the joy is achieved not by ignoring the harsher side of 
man's life but by accepting and transcending it. The 
troubadour is also the saint of the Stigmata. The power of 
Francis to help his suffering fellow-mortals lay precisely 
in his perception of the value of suffering, as shown in the 
sufferings of Christ and his own joyful self-identification 
with them. Thus we are prepared for a second note in 
Franciscan hymnody its concentration on the Passion of 
the Redeemer and its tragic accompaniments. It is fitting 
that the Stabat mater, 'At the Cross her station keeping' 
*H7 **47=f 115, should have come (in all probability) 
from the pen of a Franciscan lay brother Jacopone da 
Todi 169 (d. 1306). It is no less characteristic that the 
writer of this poignant portrayal of anguish, human and 
Divine, should have been a sort of Brother Juniper a 
holy buffoon, "a fool for Christ's sake". A second familiar 
hymn on the Passion, In passione Domini, 'In the LORD'S 
atoning grief *i05, was written by another Franciscan, 
the Doctor Seraphicus St. Bonaventura (1221-74), who 
wrote it for an Office of the Holy Cross, it is said, at the 
suggestion of King Louis IX of France. Finally, it was a 



French Franciscan friar, Jean Tisserand (d. 1494), who 
wrote the Easter hymn Jilii et jiliae, 'O sons and 
daughters, let us sing' * 130=1626. This joyous composi;- 
tion, "modelled" as it is "on the Provencal cantinella" ', 170 
may be regarded as a kind of last flaming up of the 
troubadour spirit in Church hymnody before the Middle 
Ages expired. 

The close of the mediaeval period hardly presents an 
impressive spectacle so far as "official" Christianity is con- 
cerned. More and more such vital personal religion as it 
can show tends to take refuge in those groups of humble, 
pious souls who were the real precursors of the coming 
Reformation. Among these the "Brethren of the Common 
Life" in the Low Countries stand out conspicuous. It was 
in this milieu that the author of the Imitatio Christi, Thomas 
a Kempis (1380-1471), lived and died. To him there seem 
to be good grounds for ascribing the originals of several 
hymns in our English books. Of these the best-known is 
amor quam ecstaticus, 'O love, how deep, how broad, how 
high 3 *i73 J459 **72. Others are En dies est dominica, 
' Again the LORD'S own day is here' *35 ; Quisquis valet 
numerare, 'If there be that skills to reckon' fsso **i22= 
*6ig; Hierusalem luminosa, 'Light's abode' *232 J43 1 
**i54; and In domo Patris, 'Our Father's home eternal' 

J252. 171 


It has been remarked earlier in this chapter that for a 
long time the introdu&ion of hymns into the public 
worship of the West was confined to the Breviary Offices, 
and that their use was rigidly excluded from the Mass. 
When, here too, after the lapse of centuries, they made 
their appearance, it was by a side door (so to speak) and 
in a specialized shape. During the eighth and ninth 
centuries a practice m arose of supplementing the 
austerely simple . "Gregorian" chant with phrases and 

G 87 


melodies of a much more ornate character, perhaps derived 
from Byzantine sources. These were interpolated into the 
existing chants and at first simply involved the attach- 
ment of long florid "melismatic" passages to single 
syllables of the verbal text. These interpolations were 
called Tropes. As, however, such passages were hard 
to memorize, a further custom developed of fitting words 
to them : so that now we have interpolations not only in the 
music but in the text itself. The words thus added were 
normally in Latin ; though in France at a later date they 
were sometimes written in the vernacular. The earliest 
specimens of French popular religious songs were produced 
in this way. The melody of the hymn filii et filiae 
mentioned above was in its origin that of a Trope sung in 
Provengal and inserted in the Epistle for Easter Day, Ab 
Madalene un matin, to which the Latin words by Tisserand 
were fitted some two centuries later. 173 

Such Tropes were largely to die out in time. But in 
one position in the Mass they held their ground. Of the 
new melodies a special elaboration characterized those 
attached to the Alleluia following the Gradual sung be- 
tween the Epistle and the Gospel. The final syllable -a, 
already protrafted in an ornate vocal flourish or jubilus, 
was now further extended by a much longer melody called 
Sequela. It was these Sequelae (originally wordless) which 
when provided with a verbal text produced the type of 
hymn known as a Sequence. 

The fitting of words to Tropes appears to have 
originated in the ninth century in northern France. But 
when through the flight from the Northmen (it is said) 
of a monk of Jumieges, who carried his choir books with 
him it reached the great abbey of St. Gall in Switzer- 
land, the local chroniclers, who were masters of self- 
advertisement, claimed it as their own. It is a monk of 
St. Gall, Notker surnamed Balbulus (or 'Stammerer'), 
whose name is specially connected with the earlier type of 


Sequences, so-called because, whereas other Tropes were 
interpolations, this kind followed the Alleluia. Such com- 
positions were at first non-metrical in character, having 
to follow the free rhythm of the music to which they were 
fitted. But as each phrase of this was wont to be repeated 
twice and the practice was "a syllable to a note", the result 
was "rhythmical prose in binary form". 174 For this reason 
in France Tropes (including the Sequences) were usually 
known as "Proses", though in fact they were much less 
prosaic than the products of Germany, St. Gall, etc. 

These compositions became extremely popular, and 
their number rapidly increased in both France and 
Germany. In course of time, in addition to new words to 
old music, new music came to be composed as well. It is 
unfortunately impossible to say which of the St. Gall 
Sequences that have survived are to be attributed to 
Notker himself. 176 The so-called "Allemiatic Sequence", 
Cantemus cunfli melodum, 'The strain upraise' *2Q5 t494> is 
usually regarded as his : but this is uncertain. Other 
examples of the earlier non-metrical type of Sequence 
called after him "Notkerian" are to be seen in English 
guise in our hymnals. The most famous is the Easter 
Sequence, Vittimae Paschali, 'Christians, to the Paschal 
Victim' **56=|i30. This is, incidentally, of great import- 
ance in the history of the drama. Its form and character 
lent themselves easily to dramatic representation : and its 
use in this way helped to originate the later "Mystery- 
plays" of the Middle Ages. 176 The authorship is ascribed 
to Wipo (d. 1050), a native of Burgundy (or perhaps 
Swabia) and chaplain to the Emperors Conrad II and 
Henry III. Another early specimen is the Sarum Sequence 
for the first Sunday in Advent, Salus aeterna, 'Saviour 
eternal' f 10 * * 1 8. This is already found in a Bodleian MS. 
of c. 1000. We may mention, too, the Prose for the Holy 
Innocents, Sedentem in supernum, 'To GOD enthroned in 
heaven' **ia8; the beautiful Christmas Prose, Laeta- 


bundus, 'Come rejoicing' f22 **24; the Prose for Whit- 
suntide, Laudes Deo devotas, 'Sing to GOD your praises' 
**68; and that for Martyrs, Mirabilis Deus, 'How won- 
drous is GOD' **go. These show graceful French musician- 

As time went on, the practice of fitting words to existing 
music gave place to the alternative method of writing the 
words first and setting them to music afterwards. It was 
only natural that the words should assume a metrical 
rhymed structure analogous to that of the Office hymns. 
The "binary" form, however, persisted. The character- 
istic shape of the later type of Sequence is a stanza of 
6 lines falling into two groups of 3. The first 2 lines of each 
group rhyme with one another ; while the final lines (the 
3rd and 6th of the stanza) rhyme also. To compositions of 
this type the word "Prose" was no longer applicable : and 
the alternative name "Sequence" became general. 

It is this metrical formula that is associated specially 
with the name of Adam of St. Victor, 177 the most famous 
of the later Sequence-writers. Trench goes further and 
calls him "the greatest of the sacred Latin poets of the 
Middle Ages". He was certainly among the most prolific, 
though it is not easy to decide which of the Sequences 
ascribed to him are actually his. Gautier's edition of 1853 
credited him with 106 : but in the latest edition by Misset 
and Aubry (1900) 178 this number shrinks to 45. Not much 
is known about his life. He is described as Brito, which may 
mean either a Breton or an Englishman. About 1130 he 
entered the great abbey of St. Viclor .on the outskirts of 
Paris, where he was a contemporary of the two great 
"VMorine" theologians, Hugh and Robert. His death is 
variously dated 1172 and 1192. His work is distinguished 
by stateliness of versification, skilful rhyming and a re- 
markable knowledge of Scripture and its "typological" 
application. Several of Gautier's 106 Sequences appear 
in A.M. and E.H., of which only those here preceded 



by an asterisk are accepted as Adam's by Misset and 
Aubry. Those in A.M. are : for St. Stephen's Day, *Heri 
mundus exultavit, 'Yesterday with exultation' *64; for 
Evangelists, Jucundare, plebs fidelis, 'Gome, pure hearts, in 
sweetest measure 3 *434, and Plausu chorus laetabundo., 
'Come sing, ye choirs exultant' *6si ; for Apostles, *Stola 
regia laureatus, 'In royal robes of splendour' *620. The two 
last are not in the metre of the original, which is that 
described above. E.H. has three : 'Come sing, ye choirs' 
j" 1 79, and two others : *Supernae matris gaudia, 'Joy and 
triumph everlasting' jsoo written by Robert Bridges 
to fit the Genevan Psalm tune 42 and Hierusalem et Sion 
filiae, 'Sion's daughters, sons of Jerusalem 5 j 1 ? 2 - 

None of Adam's Sequences, however, can compare in 
popularity with the Sequence for Whitsunday, Veni, 
santfe Spiritus, 'Come, Thou Holy Spirit, come' *i56 
**6y 1155. This has been variously attributed, but is 
most probably the work of Cardinal Stephen Langton, 
Archbishop of Canterbury (d. I228). 179 Another cele- 
brated Sequence is that in the Mass of the Dead, Dies irae, 
dies ilia, 'Day of wrath, O day of mourning' *3g8 **i43= 
"(351 ; though it was not written for this position and was a 
long time winning it in general use. It is generally 
ascribed to Thomas of Celano, a disciple and friend of 
St. Francis, one of the early Lives of whom he wrote. 180 
The original version ended with the line 'gere curam mei 
finis 1 , the 7th from the end : the remainder being made up 
later of verses from the Response Libera me. The current 
translation of it is by the Rev. W. J. Irons, who made it 
after hearing the Dies irae sung at the Requiem in Notre 
Dame for Archbishop Affre of Paris, who was shot on the 
barricades during the Revolution of 1848. 181 

The same thirteenth century also produced the majestic 
and highly dogmatic Sequence for Corpus Christi, Lauda 
Sion Salvatorem, 'Praise, O Sion, praise thy Master' **i34.= 
. This is the work of the greatest theologian of the 


Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas (? 1227-1 274). 182 At 
the request of Pope Urban IV he wrote in 1263 a series of 
hymns for the proposed Mass and Office of Corpus Ghristi. 
For the former he wrote the Sequence in question, for the 
latter the three Office hymns, Pange lingua gloriosi Corporis 
tnysterium, 'Now, my tongue, the mystery telling' *3og 
** 1 25=1326, Sacris sollenniis., and Verbum supernum prodiens, 
'The Word of GOD proceeding forth' *3ii j;33o **i26. A 
fifth hymn, Adoro te devote, 'Thee we adore, O hidden 
Saviour' *3i2 1331 **i33, is usually ascribed to Aquinas, 
but his authorship is not certain. It was not written for 
liturgical use, but became widely popular and is not less 
so in England in Bishop Woodford's translation. 

One more Sequence may be mentioned, beata 
beatorum, 'Blessed feasts of blessed Martyrs' *440 f 184, 
which belongs to the fourteenth century and is of German 
origin. Neither this nor the Dies irae is in the normal later 
Sequence form. 

The number of Sequences in use at the close of the 
Middle Ages was enormous, as may be seen by a glance 
at the (by no means complete) list given in Julian's 
Dictionary of Hymnology., which fills ten large pages of very 
small type. 183 With the increase in number went a grave 
deterioration in quality a deterioration that marked 
the music as well. "There was," says Dr. Frere, "a mag- 
nificence about the earlier rhythmical melodies which 
was entirely lacking in the prim and conventional formulas 
which made up most of the later Sequence melodies." 184 
These considerations helped to sharpen the disfavour with 
which Rome had at all times regarded them. The litur- 
gical reformers of the Council of Trent decided therefore 
to make pradically a clean sweep of them. In the Roman 
Missal of 1570 only four were allowed to remain, viz. : 
Vittimae Paschali (Easter), Veni sancte Spiritus (Pentecost), 
Lauda Sion (Corpus Christi), and Dies irae (Requiem). To 
these was added in 1727 a fifth, Stabat mater, which was 



turned into a Sequence for the Friday after Passion 


We have spoken at considerable length of the heritage 
bequeathed to us by the Latin hymn- writers of the Middle 
Ages. Our indebtedness to Latin hymnody, however, is 
by no means confined to this. Many familiar hymns 
"translated from the Latin" represent originals that were 
never sung in England at all, but were written on the 
Continent by poets of the Roman obedience subsequently 
to the Reformation. For in the sphere of hymnody, as in 
that of private devotion, the divisions of Christendom are 
of small account. 

The instinct of the Counter-Reformation, like that of 
the Reformation in England, was towards liturgical unity. 
The Roman Breviary issued by the Council of Trent in 
1568 put an end to the infinite and confusing variety of 
the local diocesan Uses. But a century later, and notably 
in France, the tendency towards variation once more 
asserted itself. The Gallican Church of the reign of Louis 
XIV was intensely conscious of its "national" character; 
and, while of course remaining in communion with the 
Holy See, was by no means unready to show its independ- 
ence of it, especially in view of the protracted quarrel 
between Rome and the Monarchy that raged at the time. 
Further, its leaders were largely men of refined and 
scholarly tastes, whose contact with the Court and the 
cultivated world made them well aware of the spirit and 
the needs of the brilliant age they lived in. To such men 
the existing Breviary Offices appeared open to criticism 
both in matter and in manner. In particular, the lessons 
contained many legends that revolted the rising sense of 
historical criticism; while the ancient hymns seemed 
barbarous in language and versification. It was these com- 
bined motives that led to the appearance at the end of the 



seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries 
of what are called the "Neo-Gallican Breviaries". 185 The 
earliest of these was issued by Archbishop Harlay of Paris 
in 1680. Two others may be specially mentioned : the 
Cluniac Breviary (for the use of the great abbey of Cluny 
in Burgundy), issued in 1686, and a revised edition of the 
Paris Breviary issued by Archbishop Vintimille in 1736. 

With these Breviaries we are concerned only in their 
hymnological aspect. Even the compilers of the Breviary 
of the Council of Trent had felt their sense of elegant 
Latinity, formed by the Renaissance, shocked and 
affronted by the "barbarism" of the ancient Office Hymns, 
and had handled them roughly by way of "improving" 
them. In the neo-Gallican Breviaries the more drastic step 
was taken of largely abolishing them altogether and pro- 
viding new ones. Fortunately a number of accomplished 
scholars and versifiers were available to undertake the 
task. On the score of craftsmanship the hymns they pro- 
duced were much superior, generally speaking, to the old. 
At the same time their range of subject was wider, their 
mood more subjective, emotional and suited to the age for 
which they were written. Thus "they are to be classed 
with modern hymns rather than with old hymns, in spite 
of their language". 186 The Breviaries containing them 
remained in use until far into the nineteenth century : and 
it was with them that the earlier English translators (who 
were also, generally speaking, the more accomplished) 
were specially familiar, particularly after Newman pub- 
lished his Hymns from the Paris Breviary in 1838. For this 
reason, combined with their more modern outlook, they 
figure largely in the English collections. A complete list 
of the versions of these hymns in A.M., E.H. and P.H.B. is 
given in Appendix C at the end of this volume. 

It remains to say something here concerning the leading 
figures in this school of hymn-writers and the best-known 
among the hymns we owe to them. Prominent among the 



contributors to the Paris Breviary of 1680 and the Gluniac 
of 1686 were the two brothers de Santeuil. One, Claude 
(1628-84), was attached to the seminary of St. Magloire, 
the other, Jean Baptiste (1630-97), was a Canon of St. 
Viclor (both in Paris) ; for which reason their names were 
Latinized into "Santolius Maglorianus" and "Santolius 
Vi&orinus" respectively. Of Claude's only one hymn is 
represented in our collections : Prome vocem, mens, canoram, 
'Now, my soul, thy voice upraising' *i03 f623- His 
brother has no less than 10 in A.M., and has particularly 
helped to swell the repertory of hymns for Saints' days. 
Of his hymns three are particularly popular in English 
versions : Divine cmcebas puer, 'The heavenly Child in 
stature grows' * 78=146 : and the two for Apostles, 
Supreme quales arbiter, the original of Isaac Williams' 
splendid 'Disposer supreme' *43i f 1 ?^ an d Coelestis aulae 
principes, 'Captains of the saintly band' *432 f 1 ??- 

Other contributors to the 1680 and 1686 Breviaries were 
Nicolas le Tourneaux (1640-86), author of the Epiphany 
hymn, Emergit undis, 'The Son of Man from Jordan rose' 
*4&7 ; and Guillaume de la Brunetiere (7-1702), who 
wrote a finely dramatic hymn on the Conversion of St. 
Paul, Quae gloriosum, 'What cause compelling' **gg= 
*405. To the Paris Breviary of 1680 Charles Guiet (1601- 
64) contributed Patris aeterni suboles coaeva, original of 'O 
Word of GOD above' *395 t 1 ? 1 - 

Most of the above hymns found a place in the revised 
Paris Breviary of 1736. Chief among the new contributors 
to this was Charles Coffin (1676-1749), Principal of the 
College Dormans-Beauvais in the University of Paris, of 
which latter he became Reclor in 1 718. To him we owe no 
less than 19 hymns in A.M., not a few of which have won 
wide popularity. We may mention here the two Advent 
hymns, Instantis adventum Dei, 'The Advent of our King' 
*48 1 1 1, and Jordanis oras praevia, 1 On Jordan's banks' 
*5 t9 5 J am desinant suspiria, 'Goo from on high hath 



heard' *58=f27, and Quae stella sole pulchrior, 'What star is 
this ?' *77 1 44, for Christmas and Epiphany respectively ; 
two hymns for Septuagesima, Te laeta mundi Conditor, 
'Creator of the world' *83=f64, and Rebus creatis nil 
egens, 'O GOD, the joy' *48g ; the hymn on St. John 
Baptist, Nunc suis tandem, 'Lo ! from the desert homes' 
*4i4; the evening hymn, Labente jam soils rota, 'As now 
the sun's declining rays' *i3 f 265 ; together with fans 
amoris Spiritus, 'O Holy Spirit, Lord of grace' *2o8 f453, 
and quamjuvatfratres, 'O LORD, how joyful 'tis to see' 
*273=J3g8. These, surely, form a decidedly impressive 
list. The hymns on the six week-days of creation in A.M. 
(39-44) are also by Coffin. 

To the same Breviary Sebastien Besnault contributed 
two hymns for the Circumcision, which was not provided 
for in the mediaeval series (*7o, *7i fsG). An anony- 
mous contribution is the original of the familiar 'Con- 
quering kings their titles take', Vittis sibi cognomina, 

Besides these major Breviaries the French diocesan 

Breviaries of the eighteenth century have given a number 
of hymns to our collections. Two of these may be men- 
tioned. From the Meaux Breviary (1713) comes the 
Sapphic hymn, Lapsus est annus, not very worthily repre- 
sented by the dull jog-trot of 'The year has gone beyond 
recall' *72 ; from the Breviary of Bourges (1734), Pugnate, 
Ckristi milites, original of the popular 'Soldiers, who are 
Christ's below' *447 J4.8o. The latter has become wedded 
in its English form to a French melody of far earlier date. 
This first appears in an Office for the Circumcision written 
by Pierre de Corbeil, Archbishop of Sens (d. 1222), as the 
music of a hymn celebrating the ass that carried the 
Blessed Virgin into Bethlehem. 187 

The liturgical revival of the seventeenth century in 
France even produced new Sequences as well as new 
Office Hymns. An example of these is Sponsa Christi, 'Bride 



of Christ' *6i8<=J253. It was written by Jean Baptiste des 
Contes (1601-79), Dean of Paris, and first appeared in the 
Paris Missal of 1665. 

There remain to be mentioned the best-known of a 
number of hymns of continental Roman Catholic origin 
derived from various sources. Deus, ego amo te, 'My GOD, 
I love Thee' *io6 fSo, is usually attributed to the great 
Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier (1506-52) ; but it 
seems to be really a Latin translation of a Spanish sonnet 
of unknown origin. 188 Of German collections the Maintz- 
isch Gesangbuch (1661) has esca viatorum, 'O food of men 
wayfaring' f32i=*3i4; and Simphonia Sirenum (1695) 
provides Dignare me, Jesu, 'Jesu, grant me this, I pray' 
*i82 t4 x 3j an d Finitajam sunt proelia, 'The strife is o'er' 
*i35 f625- Quicunque certum quaeritis, 'All ye who seek for 
sure relief *ii2='j'7i, is from an eighteenth-century 
Office of the Sacred Heart; while the beautiful Sol 
praeceps rapitur, 'The sun is sinking fast' *iy (**8 is a 
translation in the original metre) , is apparently a product 
of the early nineteenth century. 

Finally, something must be said concerning two hymns 
of which, on account of their wide use and popularity, we 
should much like to know the history ; but that history 
still remains very obscure, as regards both words and 
music. The first is Veni, veni, Emmanuel, 'O come, O come, 
Emmanuel' *49=f 8. This is obviously a versification of 
five of the "Great O's", the Antiphons sung from very 
early times before the Magnificat at Vespers on the days 
preceding Christmas Eve. But the date of this versification 
is uncertain. Neale, who translated it, ascribed it to the 
twelfth century : but there seems to be no proof whatever 
of this. It has been traced back as far as a collection of 
1710 called Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum. The origin 
of the tune is no less mysterious. On its first appearance in 
the Hymnal Noted (1854) it was described as "from a 
French Missal in the National Library at Lisbon" : but 



no trace of this has been found. It appears to be an 
adaptation of a plainsong Jyra. 180 

The other is the splendid Christmas hymn, Adeste 
fideles, 'O come, all ye faithful' *sg jsS. 190 This would 
seem to be a French produd of the late seventeenth or 
early eighteenth century : but, rather oddly, the English 
sources in which it first appears are earlier than the 
French. It is given (with its tune), under the heading 
'Another Prose on the Nativity of our LORD', in a book 
published in London in 1782 called An Essay on the Church 
Plain Chant, containing a collection of music sung in 
Roman Catholic chapels in England. (We may note in 
passing that in the same book appear for the first time 
four tunes that have become exceedingly familiar 
'Veni Sanfte Spiritus,' 'Melcombe' (originally a setting of 
salutaris], 'Alleluia dulce carmen? and 'St. Thomas' 
(both set to Tantum ergo) of which the first two are 
certainly and the third possibly by Samuel Webbe (1740- 
1816), organist of the Sardinian Chapel, who probably 
edited the book.) Adeste fideles has also been found in a 
collection of MS. music at Stonyhurst, dated 1751. In the 
French version it is longer than in the English : and the 
extra verses in E.H. 614 are from this source. The current 
translation is based on one made by the Rev. F. Oakeley 
in 1841 for Margaret Chapel, now All Saints, Margaret 
Street. The tune has been ascribed to John Reading, 
Organist of Winchester College, 1680; but without the 
slightest evidence. Whatever its ultimate origin, the hymn 
as we have it is one of the most priceless legacies of the 
early Anglo-Catholic Revival to posterity. 


WITH the coming of the Reformation an entirely 
new chapter in the history of hymnody begins. To 
the leaders of the movement in all countries no 
principle was more fundamental than that which required 
that public worship should be in the vernacular, "to the 
end that the congregation may be thereby edified", as 
Cranmer's preface to the 1549 Prayer Book puts it. And not 
only must Divine service be intelligible to the people, but 
they must be encouraged to participate actively in it them- 
selves in "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" in their 
own tongue. In this department, indeed, even the medi- 
aeval Church had been compelled to tolerate exceptions 
to its use of Latin as the sole liturgical language. In the 
"tropes" and cantiques of France, in the Leisen of Germany, 
in the Laudi Spirituali of the Franciscan revival in Italy (of 
which Discendi amor santo, 'Come down, O Love divine' *67o 
J 1 52$ 1 77, by Bianco da Siena, d. 1434, is an example), and, 
above all, in the "carols" of all countries, the common 
people had been allowed to lift up their voices in the 
language that they knew. But the use of such things was 
kept within close limits, and was confined for the most 
part to "extra-liturgical" occasions : to pilgrimages, to 
mission preachings and to the popular services and cere- 
monies connected with the great feasts of the Church. So 
far as the Mass and the Divine Office were concerned, the 
hymnal element was normally confined to the Latin 
Sequences and Office Hymns, in which the people could 
hardly be expecled to take a part. 



Now, however, in those countries where the Reforma- 
tion triumphed, all was to be changed. It is true that the 
latitude permitted as regards the kind of hymns used varied 
considerably according to the particular form that the 
Reformation assumed. In the Calvinist churches of France, 
Switzerland, Scotland and of certain parts of Germany 
the use of hymns was for a long time confined to metrical 
translations of the Psalms and other passages of Scripture : 
and the same was largely true of our own Church. In 
Lutheran Germany, on the other hand, encouragement 
was given from the outset to the production of entirely 
new and original poetical compositions for use in public 
worship. Luther himself was foremost in setting the 
example. A great lover of music and steeped in the folk- 
song and traditional vernacular hymnody of his race, he 
saw clearly how much could be done to rouse enthusiasm 
and to assist the dissemination of his views by means of 
simple popular hymns set to well-known tunes, whether of 
religious or secular origin. Here, then, once again, as in 
the days of Arianism and Iconoclasm, the singing of 
hymns was to be made a vehicle for spreading and per- 
petuating a particular kind of theological teaching ; and 
with such success that a contemporary Romanist com- 
plained that "the whole country is singing itself into this 
Lutheran doctrine". It must be remembered, too, that in 
thus furbishing anew an ancient weapon of propaganda 
the Reformers had at their disposal a mighty resource 
unknown to their predecessors. The invention of printing 
had made possible the cheap and indefinite multiplication 
of hymn-books : and, in consequence, we see a continuous 
stream of these pouring from the presses in all the countries 
of the Reform. 

From a purely musical point of view it would be hard 
to deny to the hymns of Lutheran Germany pride of place 



over all others. The words of these hymns, however, are 
normally on a much lower level than the music. The best 
of them, indeed, are models of what hymns should be 
whether as represented by the simple, forthright sturdi- 
ness of Luther and his associates in the "heroic" phase 
of the German Reformation or by the mingled fervour 
and tenderness of Paul Gerhardt. But these are the 
exception and not the rule even in the case of the 
hymns of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ; while 
those of the eighteenth century in their weak sentimen- 
tality are often models, rather, of what hymns should 
not be. 

In any case the limits imposed by the scheme of the 
present book preclude any very extended treatment of 
these hymns. For, as Robert Bridges has said, " attempts 
to introduce the German chorales into England have never, 
so far as I know, been successful", "owing, I suppose", he 
adds, "to a difference in the melodic sense of the two 
nations". 191 And as without their tunes the words are for 
the most part devoid of any great claim to attention, 
especially through the distorting medium of a translation, 
this has meant that the Lutheran influences which, owing 
to the circumstances of the time in which it was compiled, 
have left a definite mark on the Prayer Book are but 
slightly represented in our hymnals. To the musical 
public, of course, a large number of the German 
"chorales" are becoming increasingly familiar in the mag- 
nificently elaborated form in which Bach worked them 
up in his two Passions and innumerable Church-cantatas. 
But that public is limited : and so far as the services of the 
Church are concerned Bridges's statement seems likely to 
remain true no doubt for the reason that he suggests. 
On the other hand, so notable a mass of hymnody cannot 
be passed over without some attempt to give at least a 
brief general view of it, not only for historical reasons, but 
also because it has given us a certain number of hymns 



which are hardly less popular in England than they are 
in Germany. 192 

The first beginnings of Church music in Germany are 
associated with the name of the Emperor Charlemagne 
(768-814). He was an enthusiastic admirer of the Roman 
chant and founded schools for teaching it at Aachen, 
Fulda and elsewhere in the German portion of his 
dominions. If the testimony of John the Deacon, the 
ninth-century biographer of Gregory the Great, is to be 
trusted, the Roman cantors sent to instruct them found 
their pupils decidedly raw material : 

These mountainous bodies (he says) whose voices roar like 
thunder, cannot imitate our sweet tones : for their barbarous 
and ever-thirsty throats can only produce sounds like those of 
a loaded waggon passing over a rough road. 193 

Here possibly, however, speaks the voice of racial preju- 
dice : the Italians have always been severe critics of 
German vocal methods ! In any case, in the course of the 
next hundred years the Swiss monastery of St. Gall, along 
with a group of neighbouring houses, managed to accumu- 
late wide fame as a musical centre. We have already seen 
the part played by it in the development of the Latin 
Sequences. Linked also with the same great monastery is 
the name of the author of one of the two earliest specimens 
of sacred poetry in the German language. Both of these 
are Lives of Christ the one, called the Heliand, the work 
of a Saxon priest (c. 830), the other written about forty 
years later by Otfrid of Weissenburg, who had been a 
monk both at Fulda and St. Gall. It is interesting to note 
that Otfrid was largely responsible for the introduction 
into German poetry of the rhymed stanza (imitated 
from the Latin Office Hymns) in place of the earlier 
German alliterative metre in which the Heliand was com- 
posed. 194 

Such large-scale efforts of German sacred poetry were 



for a long time without successors. During the next two 
centuries the literature of Germany was almost exclusively 
in Latin. On the other hand, it was at this period that the 
first small beginnings of vernacular hymnody appeared. 
In the worship of the Church the contribution of the 
people was confined to the saying of Kyrie 'eleison, Christe 
eleison, at intervals during the Latin service, sometimes 
as many as two or three hundred times. Not long after the 
development of the "Notkerian" Sequences, the clergy 
had the idea of providing a kind of imitation of them in 
the German language, so as to give the congregation 
something less monotonous to sing. In these compositions, 
written in irregular verse, each stanza ended with Kyrie 
eleison, for which reason they came to be known as Leisen. 
They were not sung, however, during the Mass, but 
only at pilgrimages and on similar occasions. The first 
verse of the earliest of them, written early in the tenth 
century in honour of St. Peter, has been translated by 
Miss Winkworth thus : 

Our dear LORD of grace hath given 
To St. Peter power in heaven, 
That he may uphold alway 
All- who hope in him and say 

Kyrie eleison. 

Christe eleison. 1 5 

As time went on the number of these Leisen (or Leiche 
as they were also called) increased largely. At the great 
festivals they were even sung during the Mass itself. One 
of the most celebrated is that for Easter, Christ ist erstanden, 
of which Luther said that "after a time one tires of 
singing all other hymns, but the Christ ist erstanden one 
can always sing again". A number of different versions 
of it exist, of which the earliest belong to the twelfth 
century. It may be interesting to give here the first 
verse of a translation by the English Reformer Bishop 

H 103 

Coverdale in his Goostly Psalms and Spiritualle Songs (see 

Christ is now risen agayne 
From his death and all his payne ; 
Therefore will we mery be 
And rejoyse with hym gladlie. 

It was on this hymn that Luther based his own Easter 
hymn, Christ lag in Todesbanden, described in the book in 
which it first appeared as "The hymn Christ ist erstanden 
improved". Luther's version of words and melody was 
used by Bach in one of the most resplendent of his Church 
Cantatas, 'Christ lay in death's dark prison'. An adapted 
arrangement of the earlier form of the tune is appro- 
priately set to 'Jesus lives ! ' in t x 34 + 1 55- 

Concurrently with the production of original hymns of 
this kind a number of the more famous Latin hymns and 
Sequences were translated into the vernacular a prac- 
tice that appears to have been more or less confined to the 
German-speaking lands. These, too, were sung in church, 
though it would seem that generally speaking their use 
was discouraged except on extra-liturgical occasions. 

In the closing centuries of the Middle Ages the German 
Sequences sung at Easter and Whitsuntide were expanded 
into longer hymns. The same centuries also produced a 
great output of carols for various occasions, in Germany 
as in other countries. These lie outside the scope of this 
book: but two may be mentioned in passing, both on 
account of their intrinsic beauty and because they have 
become familiar in England in Dr. G. R. Woodward's 
beautiful arrangements, viz. Es kommt ein Schiff geladen, 
'There comes a galley laden,' by the famous fourteenth- 
century preacher and mystic, Johann Tauler ; and the 
lovely Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, 'The noble stem of Jesse' 
(Cowley Carol Book, series i, 31, 19). Many of these carols 
exhibit a quaint mixture of Latin and German lines, as in 



the well-known In dulcijubilo (ibid. 12). In our hymnals the 
popular tune 'Quern pastores laudavere' *622 f 543 +540, 
is such a carol-melody, and another, 'Ave Virgo virginum' 
*6?9 1 131 * i44> is a late mediaeval German tune of similar 
origin. A third, 'Ave Hierarchia 3 , was shortened and 
adapted by W. H. Monk into the familiar tune to 'LORD, 
Thy word abideth'. 

Now, too, arose a custom later followed by Luther of 
setting sacred words to popular secular songs of the time. 
The familiar tune known as "Innsbruck" is an example. 
It was originally a song voicing the homesickness of a 
German artisan, Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen, 'Innsbruck, 
I now must leave thee.' This suggested the idea and pro- 
vided the tune of a hymn in contemplation of eternity, 
Welt, ich muss dich lassen, 'O world, I now must leave 
thee' the hymn which inspired the lovely chorale-prelude 
written by Brahms on his death-bed. The same melody was 
later used for a number of other hymns, including Paul 
Gerhardt's Nun ruhen die Wdlder, so exquisitely rendered by 
Robert Bridges as 'The duteous day now closes' f2y8 
57 ; though it should be noted that only the first two 
verses are a translation, and a free one at that, the last two 
being Bridges's own. 196 (The version of the tune in A.M. 
86, 276 is debased and spoilt.) 

The name of Heinrich von Laufenburg, the chief and 
the most prolific of the German sacred poets of the 
fifteenth century, is prominently identified with this 
transformation of secular songs into religious hymns, and 
also with the translation of the great Latin hymns into 
German. He was a secular priest in Switzerland and later 
at Freiburg in Baden : but in 1445 he became a monk in 
the convent of the Knights of St. John at Strassburg. He 
was still living in 1458, but probably died soon after. His 
lovely little cradle-song of the Blessed Virgin, Ach lieber 
Herre, Jesus Christ, was translated by Miss Winkworth, 
'Ah, Jesu Christ, my Lord most dear,' and appears in 



E.H. t338 as a hymn for Holy Baptism. It is set there to 
the original melody accompanying the words in Laufen- 
burg's MS. and presumably of his own composition. 


Even before the appearance of Luther on the scene the 
use of an exclusively vernacular liturgy and hymnody had 
found a foothold (however slender) in central Europe. 
The great German Reformation movement of the six- 
teenth century had its precursor in the fifteenth in the 
movement associated with the name of the Bohemian 
John Hus, who was condemned as a heretic by the Council 
of Constance and publicly burned in 141 5. The determina- 
tion of the majority of the Bohemian people to defend 
Hus's orthodoxy and their own led to civil war, in which 
the Roman party sought to crush the opposition with 
foreign aid. But soon a division appeared in the ranks of 
the followers of Hus. The more moderate party were con- 
tent to demand certain disciplinary changes, including 
the restoration of the Cup at Mass to the laity. But the 
more extreme seftion, the "Taborites", wanted a com- 
plete recasting of the traditional Church system on demo- 
cratic lines, with public worship in their own Bohemian 
tongue. Eventually Rome and the moderates came to 
terms : and the Taborites were crushed and ceased to 
exist as a political force. But they maintained an obscure 
and hunted existence as a religious fellowship, and in 1467 
united with other rebels against Catholic orthodoxy to 
form a separate and organized church called the Unitas 
Fralrum or Bohemian Brethren. In their worship hymns 
played an important part. These hymns, old and new, 
were brought together in a number of successive collec- 
tions culminating in the book of 1561, containing 744 
hymns. 197 

A series of parallel collections in German began with 
the book called Em Men Gesangbuchlein, published in 1531 

1 06 


by Michael Weisse (c. I48o-i534). 198 Many of the hymns 
in these collections were subsequently embodied in the 
Lutheran books. Weisse was an ex-monk who, coming 
under the influence of Luther's writings, had joined the 
Bohemian Brethren and became the founder and leader 
of their German communities. Some of his hymns were 
translations from the Bohemian and Latin : others were of 
his own composition. Among the latter is Christ ist 
erstanden, familiar in Miss Winkworth's translation, 'Christ 
the LORD is risen again' *i36 fi29 +153. A later collec-. 
tion of 1566 contained Petrus Herbert's Sapphic hymn, 
Die Nacht ist kommen, 'Now GOD be with us, for the night 
is closing' 148. Besides these hymns a number of melodies 
have been taken over from the German books of the 
Bohemian Brethren ; four being found in E.H., viz. J54, 
121, 202, and the fine swinging melody of 604. 

The hymns in Weisse's collection were well known to 
his great contemporary Martin Luther (1483-1546) and 
were much admired by him. By the time it appeared 
Luther had followed the example of the Bohemian 
Brethren in providing a vernacular public worship. A 
complete German liturgy was issued in 1526. In connec- 
tion with this new psalms and hymns were needed to take 
the place of the old Latin hymns and Sequences. Luther 
had already set to work to provide them. The German 
hymns of the later Middle Ages were so steeped in what 
he believed to be false dodrine, and especially in an 
almost idolatrous veneration of the Blessed Virgin, as to 
be useless for his purpose. It was therefore a case of making 
new ones. Here Luther himself took the lead, at the same 
time inviting his friends and disciples to associate them- 
selves with him in the task. To his friend Spalatin he 
wrote, at the close of 1523 : 

It is my plan ... to make vernacular psalms for the people. 
. . . We seek therefore everywhere for poets. And as you have 
such skill and practice in the German tongue, I entreat you to 



work with us in this matter and to turn one of the psalms into 
a hymn after the pattern of an effort of my own that I have 
sent you. But I desire that new-fangled and courtly expressions 
may be avoided and that the words may all be exceedingly 
simple and common, such as plain folk may understand, yet 
withal pure and skilfully handled 199 

an excellent summary, by the way, of the desiderata of a 
good hymn. 

Besides a number of such German versions of the 
psalms, etc. (including the Te Deum and the Lord's 
Prayer), and of translations from the Latin (e.g. of the 
Veni Creator], Luther remodelled certain of the earlier 
German hymns. But his most important contributions 
were entirely his own. Four of his hymns appeared in the 
first Lutheran hymn-book called Achtliederbuch and 18 in 
the Erfurt Enchiridion, both of which books were issued in 
1524. Altogether 37 hymns may be with some confidence 
ascribed to him. Of these the most famous, and the only 
one that has come into fairly general use in English guise, 
is the great Einfeste Burg, ZQ() 'A safe stronghold our GOD 
is still' 1362 J436=*678. It is inspired by the 46th Psalm, 
but is not a translation of it. The common account, popu- 
larized by Heine, is that it was written by Luther when on 
his way to the Diet of Worms in 1 52 1 , at the time when 
he uttered his famous words (echoed in v. 3) : "If there 
were as many devils on the roofs as there are tiles in the 
roofs of Worms, I would go and would not be afraid." 
But it is now agreed that it was actually written at the 
time of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, when the German 
Princes made their great Protest and the name "Protes- 
tant" was born. A number of translations of it into 
English exist. Of these E.H. and S.P. use the magnifi- 
cently rugged version by Thomas Carlyle, and A.M. one 
by Miss Elizabeth Wordsworth. 

The tune of this grand hymn is not less glorious than the 
words, which it fits to perfection. There seems to be little 

1 08 


doubt that it, too, is from Luther's pen. For the great 
Reformer was musician as well as poet. He did not merely 
see, like many religious leaders before and since, the value 
of music for propaganda purposes ; he loved it for its own 
sake. He was wont to say : "He who despises music, as all 
fanatics do, will never be my friend." In his house after 
dinner he would take his lute and sing and play in the 
company of his intimates. He was no dour fanatic like 
Calvin and Knox, but a man whose intense humanity was 
at once his strength and his weakness. Thus it was only 
natural that he should pay special attention to the organi- 
zation of church-song : for he said, "I would fain see all 
arts, specially music, in the service of Him Who made and 
created them." A large number of the old melodies set to 
Latin and German hymns were furbished afresh by him 
and his musical associates : and he wrote new tunes as 
well. Of these the Einfeste Burg tune is the only one that 
seems to be certainly his : though others have been attri- 
buted to him, including the tune associated with his own 
Christmas hymn (written for his children), Vom Himmel 
hoch ; though on the hymn's first appearance in 1535 it was 
set to an old carol melody. (The tune is in *57, \ 17, J8o i.) 
The Advent hymn, 'Great GOD, what do I see and hear ? ', 
is often called "Luther's hymn" : but there is no evidence 
that the tune was written by him, and it is certain that he 
had nothing whatever to do with the words (see below, 
p. 112). 

Of the hymn-writers contemporary with Luther who 
contributed to the earliest Lutheran books, M. Weisse has 
been already spoken of. The following are also worthy of 
mention here: Justus Jonas, Paul Eber, Paul . Speratus, 
Nicolas Decius, Nicolaus Hermann, and the shoemaker- 
poet of Nuremberg, Hans Sachs, the real hero of Wagner's 
Die Meistersinger. Of their hymns, as of those of Luther 
himself, it may be said that they are admirable examples 
of what really good popular hymns should be. being 



"neither didactic nor introspective, but natural, cordial 
and fearless, at once popular and churchly". 201 They 
express, as we have said, the spirit of the heroic period of 
the German Reformation on its best side : and there is 
nothing surprising in their continued popularity in their 
own country through centuries of use. They do not seem, 
however, to have borne transplantation to English soil. 
Each of these writers has had his translators : but no hymn 
of theirs has come into common use. On the other hand, 
a number of the melodies to which the hymns of this 
period were set figure in our hymnals, though it can 
hardly be said, despite their excellence, that any of them 
has won wide popularity. Besides those already men- 
tioned, examples are the tunes to Luther's Nunfreut euch 
*2Q3 i, and his paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer Vater unser 
*644 1462 +566, to Speratus's Es is das Heil *2Q3 ii t47& 
156, and to Weisse's Freuen wir uns fSH tSJO. Of special 
interest is the tune used for Neale's translation of the Latin 
hymn (of uncertain origin), Attolle paulum lumina, 'O 
sinner, lift the eye of faith' *io4 t I0 3- It originally be- 
longed to Decius's metrical German version of the Gloria 
in excelsis, Allein Gott in der HoK sei Ehr, and is a trans- 
formation of the opening phrases of a mediaeval plain- 
song melody of the Gloria which had been already adapted 
to the prose German version of it in the Lutheran Mass- 
book of I524- 202 This may serve as an example of the 
reshaping of old material effected by Luther and his 
musical colleagues. The chief of these was Johann Walther, 
whom Luther summoned from Jorgau in 1524 to live 
with him for a time and help in the arrangement of 
church-song. Walther was responsible for the arrangement 
from melodies of an earlier date of the noble tune to 
Luther's version of St. Ambrose's Veni Redemptor gentium^ 
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland *8g fno +295, and of the 
beautiful wistful one set to his own Herzlick thut mich 
erfreuen 1284 249 i. 



The second period of German hymnody may be said to 
date from about 1570 to the close of the Thirty Years' 
War in 1648. It was something of a period of transition. 
The hymns produced retain for the most part the "objec- 
tive, churchly" character of the period preceding, though 
their general level is by no means so high. But as time 
went on, and especially when Germany plunged headlong 
into the protracted agony of the terrible religious war that 
reduced much. of her almost to a desert, the subjective and 
plaintive note began to creep in that was to be so marked 
a characteristic of the later Lutheran hymnody. Among 
the hymn-writers of the period the greatest name is that 
of Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608), author of the words, and 
probably of the tune as well, of Wie schon leuchtet das 
Morgenstern, 'How brightly beams the morning star' -'I go, 
and of the superb Wachet auf, 'Wake, O wake' |i2=J687 ; 
the latter written during a fearful visitation of the plague 
in the Westphalian town in which he was pastor. But the 
most celebrated hymn of the period is the splendid thanks- 
giving, Nun danket die Gott, 'Now thank we all our GOD' 
*379 t533 t35j which has been called "the German Te 
Deum", and is almost the only Lutheran chorale that has 
really achieved the rank of a popular favourite in English- 
speaking countries. It has often been asserted that its 
author, Martin Rinkart (1586-1648), wrote it as a thanks- 
giving for the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia that 
ended the Thirty Years' War. But it is probable that it 
appeared in the first edition of Rinkart' s Jesu Herz- 
Bilchlein in 1636, so that this can hardly be true. 203 
Rinkart was a man of frail physique but heroic character, 
who distinguished himself by his selfless devotion to his 
flock at Eilenberg in Saxony during the war. He had only 
just finished burying over 4000 of them who had died of 
plague, when the town was faced with a demand from the 
Swedish forces for 30,000 thalers a sum which through 
his intercession was reduced to 2000 florins. Two other 



hymn-writers may also be mentioned. First, Johann Heer- 
mann (1585-1647), author of the fine Sapphic Passion 
hymn, Herzliebster Jesu, translated by Robert Bridges as 
'Ah, holy Jesu, how hast Thou offended' fyo 99. The 
tune of this was certainly, and the tune of Nun danket 
almost certainly, written by Johann Criiger, of whom 
more will be said in the next section. The other is Matthaus 
Apelles von Lowenstern (1594-1648), who wrote the 
hymn (also in Sapphics) Christe du Beistand, on which 
Philip Pusey, Dr. Pusey's brother, based his well-known 
'Lord of our life and GOD of our salvation' *2i4 f435 
+349, written in 1834 t portray the state of the English 
Church at the time, "assailed from without, enfeebled and 
distracted within, but on the eve of a great awakening". 204 
Lowenstern was also an accomplished musician, and him- 
self wrote the melody of his hymn (used for Pusey's in 
S.P.}, along with two others which appear with it in 
S.P. $236, 670. 

Another earlier hymn-writer of the same period, 
Bartholomaus Ringwaldt (1532-97), has been credited 
with supplying the German original of "Luther's hymn" 
so-called, 'Great GOD, what do I see and hear ? ' *52 J4- 
The attribution, however, is without foundation. 205 It is 
true that there is a hymn of Ringwaldt' s written in the 
same metre and dealing with the same subject of the 
Second Advent : but there the resemblance ends. The 
first stanza of the English hymn appeared anonymously 
in a hymn-book published at Sheffield in 1802, the second 
being added by Dr. W. B. Collyer in his Hymns of 1812, 
along with two others. In place of these last two, the exist- 
ing verses 3-4 were supplied by T. Gotterill in the 
gth edition of his Seledion in 1820 (see below p. 194). 
Fine hymn though it be of its kind, it can hardly be 
denied that its extremely literal application of Scriptural 
eschatology is uncongenial to modern ears : and it is 
much to be wished that the solemn old tune might become 



permanently wedded to new and adequate words that 
would retain for it its Advent associations. 206 


The leading figure in the later classical Lutheran 
hymnody, as Luther is in the earlier, is Paulus Gerhardt 
(1607-76). It has been said of him by Miss Winkworth 
that in his hymns "the religious song of Germany finds its 
purest and sweetest expression" and that "he may be said 
to be the typical poet of the Lutheran Church as Herbert 
is of the English". 207 He is by far the most eminent repre- 
sentative of the third period of German hymnody 
dating from 1648 to the outbreak of the Pietistic con- 
troversy in 1690. In the writers of this period the subjective 
and mystical element that had already begun to appear 
becomes more and more marked, and the "churchly, 
confessional" element sinks into the background. But 
fervour and tenderness have not yet degenerated into 

Nearly two-thirds of Gerhardt's life were passed in the 
dark days of the Thirty Years' War, and at the age of 
forty-four he was still only a private tutor and candidate 
for orders. But in 1651 he received a post as pastor near 
Berlin, whence in 1657 he was called to the great Church 
of St. Nicholas in that city. Here he became a favourite 
preacher and won universal love and esteem. Unfortu- 
nately he became involved in the dispute between the 
Eleftor Frederick William I and the Lutheran clergy of 
Berlin, and in 1666 was deprived of his office. Two years 
later he was appointed Archidiaconus of Lubben in 
Saxony, where he died. He wrote 120 hymns in all, which 
appeared at different times from 1649 onwards. The most 
famous. is the grand Passion hymn, Haupt voll Blut und 
Wunden, 'O sacred Head, sore wounded' JIOQ Jis8= 
*iii. This was based on a mediaeval Latin hymn be- 
ginning Salve caput cruentatum, one of the earliest of the 



many poems inspired by the great carved and painted 
roods that began to tower in the churches of Western 
Europe during the thirteenth century. The Latin hymn 
was formerly attributed to St. Bernard : but it belongs 
rather to the thirteenth century and may possibly be by 
Arnulf von Loewen ( 1 200-5 1). 208 Extraordinary to 
relate, the tragic "Passion-Chorale" indissolubly wedded 
to Gerhardt's hymn, in England as in Germany, was 
originally a love-song composed by the eminent musician 
H. L. Hassler (1564-1612) 209 a further proof that 
tunes are adaptable things ! 

Another hymn of Gerhardt's has been already men- 
tioned, the beautiful Nun ruhen die W alder (see p. 105). A 
third, Befiehl du deine Weg\ which well expresses the spirit 
of simple trust in GOD that supported Gerhardt through 
his troubled life, was freely translated by John Wesley. 
Of this translation two centos are in use : one in A.M., 
Tut thou thy trust in GOD' *6gs (set to a fine manly tune 
by Wesley's nephew, Samuel), and another in S.P., 
'Commit thou all thy griefs' 479. S.P. adds two other 
hymns by Gerhardt : Aufden Nebelfolgt die Sonn', 'Cometh 
sunshine after rain' +478, and a 'modern' version of 
Frohlich soil, 'Hearts at Christmas-time' 89. The latter 
appears in some collections in Miss Winkworth's trans- 
lation, 'All my heart this night rejoices.' 

Contemporary with Gerhardt and closely related to 
him is Johann Franck (1618-77). He was Burgomaster at 
Guben in Brandenburg and enjoyed in his day a high 
reputation as a poet, both secular and religious. His 
favourite theme is the mystical union of the soul with 
Christ. This is exemplified in the two best known of his 
hymns : Jesu meine Freude, 'Jesu, priceless treasure' 544, 
and the> Communion hymn, Schmiicke dich, 'Deck thyself, 
my soul' f36 +267. We may mention, too, Tobias 
Clausnitzer (1619-84), author of another Communion 
hymn, Liebster Jesu, 'Dearest Jesu, we are here' *7is, with 



its beautiful tune by J. R. Able (1625-73), w h also wrote 
the even more beautiful one set to George Herbert's 
'King of glory 5 at *665- 

In connection with Gerhardt and Franck it is fitting to 
mention the man who wrote the tunes for a number of 
their hymns, Johann Criiger (1598-1662). Criiger was a 
distinguished organist and composer who became Cantor 
of the cathedral at Berlin. In 1644 he published the first 
issue of his Praxis pietatis melica, a collection of tunes which 
ran into innumerable editions. To have written the melo- 
dies of Nun danket and Herzliebster Jesu would be title 
enough for fame : but Criiger wrote many other fine tunes 
as well, including those to Franck's Schmucke dich and 
Jesu, meine Freude (the latter treated with such ornate 
magnificence by Bach) and the melodies on which are 
founded the well-known tunes to 'Hail to the Lord's 
Anointed' *2ig f45 87 and 'Christ, Whose glory fills the 
skies' *7 the last better represented in J282 $24. 

The same period, 1648-90, also witnessed the emer- 
gence, in Johann Neander (1650-80), of the first prominent 
name in the hymnody of the Church which divided with 
the Lutheran the allegiance of Protestant Germany, the 
so-called 'Reformed' Church. For a long time this Church, 
like the other more extreme Protestant bodies in Europe, 
frowned upon the use of anything save metrical versions 
of the Psalms in public worship. As time went on, however, 
the prejudice died down. Neander (the name is a 
Graecized form of Neumann) was, like Luther, both poet 
and musician. In his student days he came under the 
influence of Pietism: and after his appointment in 1674 
as Rector of the Latin School at Diisseldorf his uncon- 
ventional zeal brought him into conflict with the authori- 
ties of the Reformed Church there. He found comfort for 
the rest of his short life in writing hymns. These were pub- 
lished in 1 680 in a volume called A and Q, and many of 
them quickly found their way into the Lutheran books. 



His finest and best-known hymn is the splendid Lobe den 
Herrn, 'Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of 
creation' *657 1536 626. The tune of this is an adapta- 
tion, probably by Neander himself, of an earlier chorale. 
Another hymn is Meine Hoffnung stehetfest, 'All my hope 
in GOD is founded' 442, the tune of which is also an 
adaptation (it appears in slightly altered form in * 102 ii). 
But Neander's best-known tune is an original composition 
and is indissolubly joined in England to Neale's 'Come, 
ye faithful, raise the anthem' *302 fsSo +477. 

One interesting but rather isolated figure of the period 
remains to be mentioned, Johann Scheffler (1624-77). 
Brought up a Lutheran, he fell under the influence of 
Bohme and the mystics and finally found his way into the 
Church of Rome in 1653, taking the name of "Angelus 
Silesius". His hymns enjoy a high reputation ; and he 
figures in our hymn-books as the author ofLiebe die du mich 
zum Bilde, 'O Love, Who formedstme to wear' *i2 1460 
J6o8. The tune to which it is set in A.M. is a debased form 
of a very fine one by another hymn-writer of the period, 
Georg Neumark (1621-81), who wrote it for his own hymn, 
Wer nur den lieben Gott Idsst walten. The original version is 
given in t45^ +606. It appears in Mendelssohn's St. Paul 
set to the words 'To Thee, O Lord, I yield my spirit.' 

The close of the seventeenth century was a bad time for 
Germany. The country had not yet recovered from the 
ravages of the Thirty Years' War : agriculture, trade and 
industry alike languished. Even religion had largely lost 
its power to help : for official Lutheranism had" become 
arid and fossilized, concerned mainly with barren con- 
troversies. But already a movement had begun which was 
to inaugurate a kind of second Reformation. It was called 
"Pietism", and its founder was a Lutheran pastor, Philip 
Jacob Spener (1635-1705). In many ways Pietism re- 
sembled our own Methodism, being puritan in morality 
and at once emotional and practical in its religious out- 



look. At first it had to endure persecution : but eventually 
it won for itself a recognized place within the Lutheran 
fold. To this school of thought belonged nearly all the 
hymn-writers of the fourth period of German hymnody, 
which may be roughly dated 1690-1757. Spener himself 
wrote hymns : and an intimate friend of his, Johann Jakob 
Schiitz (1640-90), was the author of Sei Lob 1 und Ehr, 
'Sing praise to GOD' *293- But the chief singer of Lutheran 
Pietism was Johann Anastastius Freylinghausen (1670- 
1739). He wrote 44 hymns: but his importance for 
English hymnody lies in the sphere of music, not of words. 
His Geistreiches Gesangbuch (1704) is described by Dr. Frere 
as "the only book which can as a collection be set alongside 
with the Praxis Pietatis Melica". 210 Five tunes from it 
appear in S.P., viz. 27 (a lovely tune here set to a trans- 
lation of its own hymn, Morgenglanz in Ewigkeit, by Chris- 
tian Knorr Baron von Rosenroth) 77, 139, 292, 645. The 
tune to 'On this day, the first of days' *34 is an adaptation 
of the last of these tunes. Another Pietist hymn- writer was 
Adam Drese (1620-1701) : but he, too, figures in English 
hymnals only as musician as composer of the tune to 
his own hymn, Seelenbrautigam, set in A.M. to Zinzendorf's 
'Jesus, still lead on' *66g, and in E.H. and S.P. to W. 
Romanis's 'Round me falls the night' f 272 52. The great 
J. S. Bach (1685-1750) flourished at this period : but he 
was rather a harmonizer in his own matchless fashion of 
other men's chorales than a composer of new ones, though 
the lovely tune Nicht so traurig *3i8 ii fioo 264 is his. In 
addition S.P. has utilized a number of the melodies that he 
wrote or arranged for the Schemelli Gesangbuch and the 
Anna Magdalena Notenbuch. 211 

Besides J. J. Schutz only two hymn-writers of this period 
are represented in our hymnals. One is Heinrich Schenk 
(1656-1727), who wrote only a single hymn, but that one 
which in England is, perhaps, the German hymn next in 
popularity to Nun danket, viz. Wer sinddie vor Gottes Throne, 



'Who are these like stars appearing?' *427 f204 210. 
The other is Benjamin Schmolck (1672-1737), a Silesian 
pastor who was the most popular and prolific hymn- 
writer of his time. His hymn for Baptism, Liebster Jesu (not 
to be confused with Glausnitzer's), 'Blessed Jesu, here we 
stand', is at f3S6. 

The bulk of the Pietists, as we have said, remained 
within the Lutheran Church to leaven it. But a sedion 
of them broke off into the separatist body called the 
Moravians. We have already spoken of the Unitas Fratrum 
or Bohemian Brethren. Driven from Bohemia by persecu- 
tion in 1547, they found a refuge in Moravia, only to be 
suppressed there too after the Catholic triumph at the 
Battle of the White Mountain in 1620. A remnant, how- 
ever, lived on in secret, who called themselves the "hidden 
seed". Early in the eighteenth century Nicolaus, Count 
Zinzendorf (1700-60), a Saxon nobleman who had been 
brought up under Pietist influence (he was Spener's god- 
son), gave them a refuge on his ancestral estate, where 
they formed a colony called Herrnhut. Under Zinzen- 
dorf's auspices the old Moravian Church was virtually 
refounded in 1727, and spread to different parts of 
Germany and much more widely still. More will be said 
concerning Zinzendorf and the Moravians when we come 
to speak of their influence on the Methodism of John 
Wesley and its hymnody. All that concerns us now is that 
Zinzendorf himself was a hymn-writer and editor of 
hymn-books. His hymns number over 2000 and are of 
very varying merit. Two are represented in A.M. : Jesu 
geh' voran, 'Jesus, still lead on' *66g and Deiner Kinder 
Sammelplatz, 'Christ will gather in His own' *4oo. 

Of far greater importance, however, than Zinzendorf 
is another figure who held aloof from the organized 
Lutheranism of his time, but in this case without founding a 
seel of his own. Gerard Tersteegen (1697-1769) was a pure 
mystic, influenced by the teachings of Jacob Bohme even 



more than by Pietism. Like many others of his kind, he 
was in no way a schismatic : it was merely that institu- 
tional religion did not interest him much. Brought up in 
the Reformed Church, he left a well-to-do home in early 
life to live in a little cottage near Muhlheim, where he 
practised ribbon-weaving and devoted his leisure to 
prayer, writing and addressing private religious gather- 
ings. As the claims upon him increased, he devoted him- 
self exclusively to this informal ministry and was much 
sought after from all quarters, both personally and by 
correspondence. As hymn-writer Tersteegen, alike in his 
mystical cast of mind and his poetic manner, more nearly 
resembles Johann Scheffler than anyone else. He deeply 
influenced John Wesley, who translated two of his finest 
hymns : Gott ist gegenwartig, 'Lo ! GOD is here 3 *526 t^37 
1 191, and Verborgen Gottesliebe, 'Thou hidden love of GOD' 
*6oo +671. 

By the middle of the eighteenth century the impulse of 
Pietism was in turn becoming exhausted. Like all similar 
movements it was weak on the intellectual side : and its 
emotionalism degenerated easily into sentimentality and 
the dreary cliches that are the despair of translators of 
those terrible libretti from which Bach's incredible genius 
contrived somehow to wring the inspiration of his Church- 
cantatas. In the sphere of religion, as elsewhere, the law of 
action and reaction largely holds sway : it was, too, the 
age of the "Enlightenment" in Europe. It was only natural, 
then, that the religious life of Germany should be pene- 
trated by the ideas that were in the air : and that, there as 
in other countries, the particular brand of religion should 
prevail which we associate with the eighteenth century 
cold, rational, theistic rather than Christian. The 
hymnody of the period (1750-1830) necessarily reflects 
the change. The old hymns were watered down to suit the 
new spirit : the new ones were lyrics and odes rather than 
hymns in the old sense. The chief representative of this 

i 119 


school was Christian Fiirchtegott Gellert (1715-69), a pro- 
fessor at Leipzig. He enjoyed a great reputation in his 
day, but is less admired now. We must not forget, how- 
ever, that it is to him we owe the original of one of the 
best and best-loved of our hymns, Jesus lebt, 'Jesus lives !' 
*-i40=']'i34 155. Another very popular hymn dates 
from the same period, 'We plough the fields and scatter' 
*3^3 T 2 93 ? I 4 < ft i s a translation of three verses of a 
hymn by Matthias Claudius (1740-1815). The "German 
Milton", Klopstock, author of Messiah, was a hymn- 
writer of this school : but none of his hymns is used in 

Among the tunes of German origin belonging to this 
period four are particularly popular. One is 'Austria', set 
to 'Glorious things of thee are spoken' *545 J393 +5- 
This was the work of the great Franz Joseph Haydn (1732- 
1809), and was originally written as a setting of a national 
hymn sung on the Emperor's birthday in 1797, being 
afterwards used by the composer as the theme of the 
splendid variations that form part of his "Emperor" 
quartet. 212 The second is the lusty tune to 'We plough the 
fields' *383 ^293 14, written by J. A. P. Schulz and set 
to Claudius's hymn in a collection of 1800 : and the two 
last those to 'O happy band of pilgrims' *224 and 'Blest 
Creator of the light' *38 both by J. H. Knecht (1752- 
1817). A tune by Haydn's younger brother Michael 
appears at *666. In the tunes of this period, as we might 
expeft, the starkness of the old chorales gives way to a 
lighter style, more flowing in melody, more luscious in 
harmony a style which undoubtedly was one of the 
major factors that went to the making of the characteristic 
"Victorian" hymn-tune. Two later German examples of 
this style are the two chorales by F. Filitz (1804-76), from 
which are adapted the popular tunes 'Capetown' *i63 
J50i 1507 and 'Mannheim' *ig6 1426 555 ii. Apart 
from this musical influence, the debt of our hymnals to 



nineteenth-century German hymnody is negligible. 
Lutheranism went on producing its sacred poets as before : 
but none of their work has found a permanent welcome 
within our shores. 


Before closing this chapter something must be said con- 
cerning our debt to the Catholic hymnody of Germany 
a debt (in respecl of tunes rather than words) that has 
been considerably increased of late years. It is a curious 
fad that while Lutheran musicians were busy remoulding 
not a few of the old religious melodies of pre-Reformation 
Germany into chorales, the German Catholics appear to 
have been at small pains to guard their inheritance in its 
original form. Indeed, the earliest printed source of 
mediaeval German song is not of Catholic but of Swedish- 
Lutheran origin. In 1582 Theodoricus Petri published PiUe 
Cantiones, a collection of such melodies, sacred and secular, 
most of them probably Swedish but a minority German. 2 1 3 
This book has been a gold mine to editors of carol-collec- 
tions, particularly to Neale and to Dr. G. R. Woodward. 
Some of its contents appear, too, in our hymn-books. The 
thirteenth-century melody ordinarily used for the Christ- 
mas hymn, 'Of the Father's love begotten', probably 
reached the Hymnal Noted (in which it first appeared) from 
this source ; though it has been found in MSS. of earlier 
date. It was originally set to a Trope on the San&us be- 
ginning Divinum mysterium. 214 The correct form is the 
"alternative version" in A.M. 56, which also appears at 
f6i3 $387. The second tune to *4g8, 'The foe behind', 
is also from Piae Cantiones, where it is set to a hymn on the 
Passion : Neale's words were written to "carry" it. S.P. 
has four more tunes from the same source, viz. $4, 272, 
385, 502. Of these the first is our old friend, 'Good King 
Wenceslas' (a charming figment of Neale's imagination, 
by the way) ; the melody being set in S.P. to a translation 
of the springtide carol to which it belongs in Piae Cantiones. 



The explanation of Catholic indifference to such things 
is doubtless that the Counter-Reformation, unlike the 
Reformation, was not encouraging to popular hymnody. 
But, as time went on, it was discovered that vernacular 
hymns could not be dispensed with : and from the closing 
decades of the sixteenth century onwards a series of collec- 
tions of hymns, German as well as Latin, made their 
appearance. The earliest of these were the three collec- 
tions by Leisentritt, the last of which (1584) contained the 
melody Ave Virgo Virginum already mentioned, along with 
another on which the well-known tune 'Narenza' *a68 
J5i8 is founded. In the Andernach Geistliche Gesdnge 
(1608) the plainsong tunes of the Latin hymns were 
largely supplanted by melodies of the chorale type. S.P. 
has three tunes from this source, J 1 30 ii, 305, 478, and A.M. 
one, *754 i. The Cologne Gesangbuch of 1623 contained the 
splendid Easter melody Lasst uns etfreuen, which has be- 
come so well known in connexion with Mr. Riley's fine 
hymn, 'Ye watchers and ye holy ones' JS^- In A.M. it is 
appropriately set (in a more exacl: version) to 'Light's 
glittering morn' *I26 ; while the compilers of S.P. have 
rather rashly dared to mate its magnificence with a new 
Easter hymn, 'Let us rejoice' $157. S.P. has three other 
tunes from the 1619 and 1623 editions of this book, 163, 
167, 549 ii. Lastly we may mention the collection called 
Heilige Seelenlust, first published in 1657. The author of it 
was Johann Scheffler, who has been dealt with above in 
connection with Lutheran hymnody because most of his 
hymns were written before his conversion to Rome. The 
musical editor of his book was Georg Joseph, who wrote 
or adapted the tune that forms the basis of the popular 
one to 'At even, ere the sun was set 5 *ao fa66, 42 ii. 
Other tunes from the same source are that of the New 
Year's hymn 'For thy mercy 5 *73 J286 and the pretty 
lilting melody at 559. 



FROM the moment of its inception the Reformation 
movement of the sixteenth century showed the signs 
of division into two camps a Right and a Left, to 
borrow the phraseology of continental politics. The Right 
is represented by Lutheranism and (in a still more marked 
degree) by our own Church of England ; the Left by the 
various bodies that are grouped together as 'Reformed' or 
'Calvinistic'. Calvin himself at this period had not yet 
appeared upon the scene. But even while Luther was 
initiating his own movement in Germany, a parallel revolt 
against Rome was being undertaken by Zwingli in 
Switzerland, but on more drastic lines. In Zwingli the 
mystical and emotional elements that were so marked a 
feature of Luther's make-up were lacking. He was essenti- 
ally a humanist and an intellecTualist ; a man, too, devoid 
of any sentimental feeling for the past and always ready to 
push his principles to their logical issue. This mentality 
was reflected in his attitude towards public worship in 
general and the Mass in particular. The outward observ- 
ances of religion were to be reduced to a minimum and 
nothing tolerated that was not authorized by the plain 
letter of Holy Scripture : the Sacrament was to be regarded 
as a "bare memorial" of Christ's Death. Zwingli himself 
perished in battle in 1531 : but his trenchant spirit was 
inherited and his work carried on by the Frenchman Jean 
Calvin, who proceeded to ere6t on the foundation laid by 
him a rigid and highly organized system of doclrine and 
discipline, which from its focus at Geneva was to spread 



over large parts of Western Europe and into the New 
World as well. In Germany it was never to win more than 
a minority-support (and even then only in a modified 
form) as against its rival Lutheranism. But in Protestant 
Switzerland, in Holland and in Scotland it was to be 
triumphant; in France it was for a long time to con- 
stitute a formidable menace to Catholicism; while in 
England it not only left its mark on the formularies of the 
national Church at the close of the sixteenth century, but 
also inspired the great Puritan revolt against the Eliza- 
bethan religious settlement. 

The difference between Lutheranism and Calvinism is 
to be seen in their respective attitudes towards hymnody 
as well as in major matters. The former, while encouraging 
the use of German metrical translations of the Psalms, was 
willing at the same time to give free play to the poetic 
gifts of its members in the production of original hymns, 
and even to permit the adaptation of Catholic material for 
a similar purpose. Zwingli and Calvin, on the other hand, 
with their rigid insistence on "The Bible and nothing 
but the Bible", frowned on anything save the metrical 
psalms. Thus the hymn-singing of the "Reformed" 
Churches was for a long time virtually confined to these. 
The metrical psalters of these various Churches were 
naturally closely interconnected, despite their differences 
of language ; so that in dealing with them we shall have to 
consider them as a single whole. It should be added that, 
while in doctrine, organization and ritual the Church of 
England was more Catholic than the Lutheran, in the 
sphere of hymnody it followed for a long time the Calvin- 
istic churches in its preference for metrical psalms over 
hymns. Thus the French-Swiss (Genevan), the German, 
the English and the Scottish Psalters in their mutual 
inter-relations form the subject of the present chapter. 



The beginnings of Protestant metrical psalmody arose 
in the rather surprising milieu of the frivolous and corrupt 
French Court of the Valois. 215 The sister of Francis I, 
Marguerite, married to the dispossessed King of Navarre, 
was a friend to Humanism and to the reforming doctrine 
that was so closely connected with it. Herself a contributor 
(at least) to the celebrated Heptameron that bears her 
name, she was the patroness of many of the leading 
literary figures of the time. Among them was a gentleman 
of her suite, the French poet Clement Marot (1497-1544), 
who later became valet de chambre to Francis I. Marot's 
poetic evolution was not unlike that of Venantius Fortun- 
atus a thousand years before. He had won fame as a 
satirist and writer of exquisite lyrics, amatory and other- 
wise : but having come under the influence of the Refor- 
mation he turned his muse to sacred subjects and began to 
translate the Psalms into French verse. 216 The first of 
these translations (of ps. 6) was included in a volume of 
poems which he dedicated to his patroness in 1533. He 
went on to translate other psalms as well : and his versions, 
which could be sung to popular tunes of the time, created 
quite a furore at Court. In his charming book, The Psalms 
in Human Life, Lord Ernie writes of them as follows : 

No one delighted in the santtes chansonnettes more passion- 
ately than the Dauphin (afterwards Henry II). ... He sang 
them himself with musicians who accompanied his voice on 
the viol or lute. To win his favour gentlemen of the Court 
begged him to choose for each a psalm. Courtiers adopted 
their special psalms, just as they adopted their particular arms, 
mottoes or liveries. . . . Diane de Poitiers [the king's mistress] 
sang the De profundis (ps. 130) to the air Baisez-moi done, beau 

From the Court they spread to the city and the country 
generally ; and were unquestionably a considerable factor 



in winning support for the Reformed doctrine and 

In 1542 Marot published 30 of these psalms in a single 
volume. The book brought down the wrath of the authori- 
ties on the poet. He fled to Geneva, where a new collec- 
tion, now containing 50 psalms, was published in 1543. 
Marot died next year, leaving the rest of the psalms to be 
translated by the great Huguenot divine, Theodore Beza, 
who published them at intervals between 1551 and 1562. 
In the latter year the complete collection appeared with 
the title Les Psaumes mis en rimefranfoise par Clement Marot et 
Theodore de Beze. This was the famous "Genevan Psalter", 
which for a while was used even in Catholic circles. 
Henri II, we are told, 

carolled ps. 42, 'Like as the hart,' as he hunted the stag in the 
forest of Fontainebleau, riding by the side of Diane, for the 
motto of whose portrait he chose the first verse of his favourite 
psalm. 218 

In the Protestant world it was used not only in France 
and Switzerland, but in translated form in Germany, 
Holland and Denmark. 

For our present purpose the Genevan Psalter is less 
interesting from the point of view of its words than of its 
music. The English metrical versions of the Psalms were 
home-grown products and framed on other lines. The 
difference of metres, too, made it difficult (as we shall see) 
to adapt the Genevan melodies to the English versions. 
Thus even on the musical side the contemporary influence 
of the Swiss psalter on English psalmody was with a few 
exceptions transient and unimportant. It is only in the 
last forty years that the magnificence of the best of the 
Genevan melodies has forced compilers to find or 
rather to create a place for them in our hymnals. But 
in their new surroundings they are becoming so well 
known that it is necessary to say something here con- 
cerning their origin. 



The 30 psalms published by Marot in 1542 were without 
music. But even before that date, a partial metrical psalter 
with melodies attached had been published" by Calvin at 
Strasburg in 1539. Of the 18 psalms included 12 were by 
Marot, but in a form different from that in which they 
appeared in his own edition three years later : the rest 
were presumably by Calvin himself. Of this book 
"Calvin's First Psalter", as it has been called no copy 
was for a long time known to exist. But in 1878 M. Douen, 
in his work on the Huguenot Psalter, announced that he 
had discovered an exemplar of it in the Royal Library 
at Munich. Not till 1919, however, was a facsimile of it 
published. This was followed in 1932 by an edition by Sir 
Richard Terry, 219 with an introduction, harmonizations 
and English translations of the psalms included in their 
original metres. The tunes in this Strasburg Psalter 
would appear to be mostly of German origin adapta- 
tions, like many of the German chorales, of mediaeval 
German melodies, religious and secular. The only tune in 
it that figures in our hymn-books is that of ps. 36 the 
splendid sweeping melody to "carry" which Dr. T. A. 
Lacey wrote his hymn, C O Faith of England' J544 +246. 
It also appears in A.M. set to the words 'From highest 
heaven' * 171. It was set in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter of 
1561 (see below, p. 146) to the n 3th psalm hence its 
English title of 'Old iisth'. 

Between 1541 and 1562 the Genevan Psalter gradually 
grew towards completeness, and tunes were provided for 
the new psalms as they appeared in successive editions. 
The musical editor of all these except the first and the last 
was Louis Bourgeois (c. 1510-?), one of the most illustrious 
names in Christian hymnody. In the edition of 1542 he 
altered some of the earlier tunes and substituted new 
tunes for others. By the time he had finished his editorship 
he had enlarged a psalter with some 30 tunes into one 
containing 85 83 for the psalms and 2 for metrical 



versions of the Commandments and the Nunc dimittis 
respectively. Of these 10 survived from the Strasburg 
Psalter of 1539, while for the rest Bourgeois himself was 
responsible, and many of them no doubt were composed 
by him. His relations with the Genevan Consistory had, 
however, long been uneasy: and at last, failing to win 
permission for the introduction of part-singing into the 
services, he quitted Geneva and went to Paris. Thus he 
had nothing to do with the 40 new tunes accompanying 
the 60 new psalms that went to make up the completed 
Genevan Psalter of 1562 : and we have no clue to the 
authorship of these. 

Concerning Bourgeois's work, Dr. Bridges has said : 
"Historians who wish to give a true philosophical account 
of Calvin's influence at Geneva ought probably to refer 
a great part of it to the enthusiasm attendant on the sing- 
ing of Bourgeois's melodies." 22 As is only natural, some 
of the psalm-tunes written or adapted by him are superior 
to others : but the best of them include some of the most 
beautiful tunes in our hymnals. Their rather unusual 
metrical structure has made it necessary in a number of 
cases to provide words specially written to fit them : and 
with this objed Dr. Bridges himself in the Yattendon Hymnal 
made some of his most precious contributions to English 
hymnody. The following appear in E.H. and S.P. : 'Joy 
and triumph everlasting' ^200 291 (to ps. 42) ; 'O 
gladsome Light' 1269 50 (to Nunc dimittis) : 'The King, 
O GOD, his heart to Thee upraiseth' '[564 324 (to ps. 12). 
The two former are translations, one from Adam of St. 
Viclor, the other of the very early Greek hymn <&a)s 
IXapov : the last is stated to be "based on F. R. Tailour", 
but the resemblances to Tailour's 1615 version of ps. 21 
are so slight that it should be regarded as an original 
composition. The tune of ps. 12 appears in A.M. at 
*494. Other psalm-tunes by Bourgeois have been 
utilized as follows : 'The day Thou gavest' f 277 +56 i 



(The Ten Commandments) ; 'Bread of the world' 1305 
|265=*484 (ps. 1 18) ; 'Virgin-born, we bow before Thee' 
f 640=$ 12 1 (ps. 86); 'LORD, through this Holy Week' 
*647=J538 $347 (ps. no). The tunes by Bourgeois that 
found their way into use in England through the metrical 
psalters (including the 'Old iooth') will be dealt with in 
the next section. Their number was unfortunately very 
limited : for, in contrast to the rich metrical variety of the 
Genevan Psalter, the English in its early stages was almost 
entirely in D.G.M. For another tune from the Genevan 
Psalter' (not by Bourgeois) Bridges wrote the words 
of 1 66 1, 'Thee will I love, my GOD and King' (ps. 138). 
It should be added that for many of the Genevan 
psalm-tunes harmonies were provided by another eminent 
Protestant musician, Claude Goudimel, who perished in 
the massacre of St. Bartholomew in 1572. His arrange- 
ments are used in a number of the settings indicated 


The history of the English metrical Psalter known as the 
"Old Version" is even more complicated than that of the 
French. Those who would study its intricacies more closely 
are referred to Dr. Frere's authoritative treatment of it in 
the Historical Introductions to Hymns A. and M. and to the 
articles on the "Old Version" in Julian's Dictionary of 
Hymnology and on "Psalter (English Metrical)" in Grove's 
Dictionary of Music the latter by H. E. Woolridge. It 
must suffice here to give a bare outline of the subjecl. 

The first stage in the production of English metrical 
versions of the Psalms is a little later in date than Mar of s 
corresponding efforts in French. It is associated with the 
name of Thomas Sternhold (?-i549), who was groom of 
the robes to Henry VIII, even as Marot was valet de 
chambre to Francis I. Apart from this and their common 
Protestantism, however, there is small similarity between 



the two. Marot was a brilliant French Court poet : Stern- 
hold was a plain, pious Englishman who wrote to edify, 
not to charm. His aim seems to have been to make sacred 
songs for the people in place of the "amorous and obscene 
songs" in which they delighted: and for this reason he 
cast his versions in the familiar ballad-metre, called 
"Common Measure" (C.M.) or "Double Common 
Measure" (D.C.M.), when used for hymns. At first, 
according to Strype, he wrote for his own "godly solace" : 
and would sing his versions to his own accompaniment on 
the organ. But, soon after the accession of Edward VI, the 
young king chanced to overhear them and insisted on 
their being repeated in his presence, A collection of 19 
psalms was published : and in a second edition issued in 
1549, after Sternhold's death, this number rose to 37 
i.e. psalms 1-17, 19-21, with 17 others. All were in D. C.M. 
except the 2 5th (D.S.M.) and the isoth ( 
Besides these Sternhold would seem to have written 
others, for in later editions of the English Psalter versions 
additional to those issued in 1549 are attributed to him. 

His work was carried on by his principal colleague in 
framing the "Old Version", John Hopkins (d. ?i57o). In 
1551 Hopkins added 7 new versions to Sternhold's 37. 
The book was several times reissued during Edward's 
reign. But on the accession of Mary the Reformers had to 
flee the country : and the next stages in the evolution of 
the English Psalter have their scene at Geneva. 

By this time (1553) the Genevan Psalter had come to 
include 83 psalms and was still growing. Moreover, the 
melodies of Bourgeois were ready to hand. The result was 
the issue in 1556 of an enlarged English psalter with tunes. 
This formed the central portion of a Forme of prayer and 
ministration of the Sacraments., etc. . . . put forward as a rival 
to the Book of Common Prayer, which the extremist 
exiles assembled at Geneva detested. The number of 
psalms had now risen to 51 by the addition of 7 new 



versions, to which was added a version of the Ten Com- 
mandments. All these were from the hand of William 
Whittingham (? 1524-1 579), later Dean of Durham, who 
had married Calvin's sister and was pastor of the Genevan 
refugees. The bulk of them were still in D.C.M. : but 
ps. 51 and the Commandments introduced L.M., ps. 115 
was in D.S.M. and ps. 130 introduced 7. 6. 7. 6D. Each 
item had its own tune. The great majority of these pre- 
sumably came with the versions themselves fromuEngland : 
but the D.C.M. of Sternhold's version of ps. 128 and 
Whittingham's versions of the Commandments and 
ps. 130 are fitted to the tunes of the corresponding 
Genevan versions. The last of these adaptations is 
particularly clumsy, as will be seen by a comparison : 



fond de ma pen - s& 

Lord to Thee I make my moan 

This example serves to illustrate the difficulties in the 
way of using the Genevan tunes for the English versions, 
due not only to metrical differences but to the pre- 
dominance in the French versions of the "feminine" 
double-rhymed ending, ~~ """, which English verse did 
not favour. 

Of the tunes in this book few, as we shall see, were to 
survive for long at all, and only three are familiar to-day. 
These are 'Old 44th', 'Old I37th' and the well-known 
'Commandments', which last eventually assumed the dull 
and debased form represented in *3. In the case of this tune 
the use of Bourgeois's original version in f277 is made 
possible by the "feminine" ending in lines I and 3 of the 

In later editions of the English Psalter the principle of 
a different tune for every psalm was abandoned. In 1558 
22 tunes disappeared, and 5 more gave way to others. 
The English edition of 1560 and the Genevan edition of 


1561 left the residue untouched : but the English edition 
of 1561 still further reduced it, as we shall see. 

Meantime, while the tunes decreased, the psalm- 
versions increased, in number. The 1558 edition contained 
1 1 new ones, to each of which was attached a new tune. 
These psalms and their tunes alike showed signs of 
Genevan influence : the former in the use of new metres, 
the latter in the adaptation of Genevan melodies. In- 
cluding the 6 new tunes to the older psalm-versions, the 
total of new tunes in this edition was 17. Of these 9 found 
a place in the completed Psalter of 1562, 5 of them being 
of Genevan origin. 

At this point the history of the English Psalter bifurcates 
into two streams. On the accession of Elizabeth the 
English exiles at Geneva flocked back to their own 
country, taking the Psalter with them. For a time there 
was doubt as to its legality : but the question was quickly 
settled in its favour, and the use of it was regarded as 
being covered by the 4Qth of the Royal Injunctions of 
1559 (see below, p. 153). "After this," says Dr. Frere, "it, 

was natural to regard the book as the ally and colleague 
of the Prayer Book." 221 

In a new edition issued in 1560 few new psalms were 
added: but there were considerable additions to the 
appendix, which had hitherto comprised only versions of 
the Commandments (1556) and Nunc dimittis (1558). 
The former was now companioned by versions of Bene- 
diSlus and Magnificat) the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's 
Prayer ; while a new version of Nunc dimittis was substi- 
tuted for the old. Further, the book showed signs of a new 
influence not French this time, but German, and hail- 
ing from Strasburg. Two tunes from the Strasburg books 
are used for psalms 67 and 125 ; while the version of the 
Lord's Prayer (by Bishop Cox) is set to Luther's Voter 
unser. The two former were to disappear : but the last was 
to remain associated not only with the Lord's Prayer but 



also with ps. 112 for which reason it is known as 'Old 
1 1 2th'. It is to be found in *644 t4^ 2 +5^6. 

The year 1561 produced two new books one issued 
at Geneva, the other in London. The former, edited by 
William Kethe, is the parent of the Scottish Psalter : and 
more will be said about it in that connection. It is only 
necessary to note here that it and its English fellow alike 
included for the first time both words and music of the 
'Old looth' the words written presumably by Kethe 
himself, 222 and the tune one of Bourgeois's. In the English 
edition we see Hopkins back at his old task of supple- 
menting Sternhold and adding 14 new psalm- versions : to 
which must be added 3 posthumous ones by Sternhold 
and 4 by other hands, making now 83 psalms in all. The 
appendix was further enlarged and now became a prefix 
and appendix. The former included versions of the Venite 
and Te Deum ; while the latter included certain poetical 
oddments which justify Dr. Frere's comment that "the 
Psalter was by slow degrees becoming the nucleus of a 
hymn-book as well". 223 Here again we may probably see 
signs of Lutheran influence. 

The slaughter of tunes in this edition has been already 
alluded to. Of the tunes of 1556 spared in 1558 9 more 
disappeared, along with 7 of the new ones of 1558 and 
2 of those of 1560. As against this must be set the intro- 
duction of 1 8 new tunes both for the psalms and for 
the prefix and appendix. 

Next year (1562), with the issue of the book bearing the 
title The Whole Booke ofPsalmes collected into Englysh metre, 
by T. Starnhold, I. Hopkins and others . . . , the long business 
of producing a complete English Psalter was at last brought 
to an end : and the "Old Version" reached its final and 
standard form. In regard to pss. i 104, Hopkins was 
mainly responsible for filling the gaps in the earlier 
psalms, and his colleague, Thomas Norton (described by 
Wood as "a forward and busy Galvinist"), for filling those 


in the later. After ps. 104 Kethe's versions made at Geneva 
were for the most part adopted where they existed. At the 
same time the appendix received 4 further additions. A 
considerable number of new tunes were also added and no 
further excisions were made. But the poverty of the book 
on its musical side may be gauged by the fad that of the 
150 psalms only 47 had tunes of their own, while the 
remainder had to dress in borrowed plumes. 

This musical poverty is revealed not only in the quantity 
but also in the quality of the tunes provided. Here, it must 
be confessed, the music only matched the text. Fuller's 
quaint and caustic verdid on the "Old Version" has 
often been quoted: 

"Their piety was better than their poetry ; they had drank 
more of Jordan than of Helicon. . . . Sometimes they make 
the Maker of the tongue speak little better than barbarism, 
and have in many verses such poor rhyme that two hammers 
bn a smith's anvil would make better music." 224 

Even less complimentary is Lord Rochester's epigram 
on a parish clerk singing the psalms : 

"Sternhold and Hopkins had great Qualms, 
When they translated David's Psalms, 

To make the heart full glad : 
But had it been poor David's Fate 
To hear thee sing, and them Translate, 
By G , 'twould have made him mad." 2 25 

Not only were the words for the most part halting and 
uninspiring in themselves, but in place of the rich variety 
of the Genevan metres we have a continual repetition of 
the dreary jog-trot of D.C.M. Thus it is hardly surprising 
that, musically as verbally, the English Psalter is a poor 
affair, or that most of its tunes find no place in most of our 
hymnals, and few of those that do are very popular. The 
D.G.M. tunes are dull and diatonic ; the modal character 
of the more interesting of the earlier ones having con- 



demned them to ejedion. 'Old 44th' *2i6 fan +655, 'Old 
8ist' *439 J46i Jsi6 and 'Old isyth' *375 1404 526 
have managed to survive, and 'Old i8th' 43 and 'Old 
22nd' fi63 176 to be revived : but one can hardly say 
that their vocal "line" is very exciting. The popular tune, 
'StFlavian' *i62 fi6i Ji88, is the first half of the D.C.M. 
tune to ps. 132. The tunes written in other metres are 
better : and the best of them are admirable. Besides those 
already mentioned there are : the wistful 'Old 25th' *i4g 

t*49 1*95; ' Old 5 th ' * 66 ; the splendid 'Old iooth' 
*i66 1365 443 ; and 'Old i22nd' *303 f 512 J6g6 the 
two last by Bourgeois. The well-known S.M. tune, St. 
Michael, *yo f27 +702, is an adaptation of 'Old i34th 5 , also 
taken from Bourgeois. There remains to be added another 
Bourgeois tune, 'Old I24th'. This has always enjoyed 
immense popularity in Scotland as wedded to Whitting- 
ham's finely-rugged version of the psalm to which Bour- 
geois set it, "Now Israel may say and that truly." To 
bring it back into use in England E.H. provided two 
hymns written ad hoc., fii4, 352. But it is best known in 
connection with Clifford Bax's fine poem, 'Turn back, O 
man, forswear they foolish ways' 329, which was written 
for Gustav Hoist's motet on the tune. The version of the 
melody in *7i5 reduces its 5 lines to 4 and so spoils it. 

Fortunately the bare cupboard of the 1562 book was to 
be restocked in the various collections of psalm-tunes that 
for more than half a century were to issue at intervals 
from the press as purely private undertakings. Up to 1562 
inclusive the music of the metrical psalms was in the form 
of melodies only. But in 1563 harmonized settings ap- 
peared in the shape of four part-books with the title The 
Whole Psalmes, in four paries, which may be song to al musicall 
instmmentes, published by John Day, the well-known music 
printer. It would appear to have been edited by W. 
Parsons ; for he did most of the settings. This book con- 
tained not only all the tunes of 1562, in the majority of 

K 135 


cases in two or three alternative settings, but additional 
tunes as well, some of them "throw-outs" from earlier 
editions of the Psalter, others entirely new. Only one verse 
of the words was printed in each case, and the vocal parts 
were issued in separate volumes ; for, here as elsewhere, 
nothing of the nature of our "scores" was for a long time 
to exist. The melody is usually given to the Tenor, but 
sometimes to one of the other parts. 

This "Day's Psalter" was succeeded in 1579 by 
another bearing the name of William Damon, "one of 
Her Maiesties Musitions". Damon, however, seems to 
have disclaimed responsibility for its settings : and the 
book was withdrawn. Only after his death was a new 
edition published (in 1591), in which his settings appeared 
in an authentic form. In these and other contemporary 
collections still to be mentioned we get the first of the four- 
line single C.M. tunes, sometimes called "Church tunes", 
which were to supplant the majority of the old D.G.M. 
tunes. These new tunes were often quarried from the 
latter, which lent themselves easily to the purpose. A 
similar use was made to some extent of the settings made 
by Dr. Christopher Tye for his quite comically doggerel 
metrical translation of the first chapters of the Ads of the 
Apostles, published in 1553. It is from this source that the 
tune 'Windsor' *26y 1332 J 547 ii is probably derived. The 
tune 'Southwell 5 *205 177 Jio6 first appears in Damon's 
1579 book: and the fine 'Old i20th' *77o 1464 $615, 
which was not in the earlier Psalters, is also found there. 
Between the two editions of Damon came another 
Psalter by John Cosyn (1585) : but it need only be men- 
tioned here. Of greater interest is Este's Psalter of 1592, in 
which the settings were the work often leading musicians 
of the day : 9 of the new four-line tunes are found here, 
of which 5 had been in Damon. Of the remainder two are 
still in common use : 'Winchester Old' *62 J30 J82 i, and 
'Cheshire' *272 t I0 9 + I0 5- Barley's Psalter (undated) 



followed Este closely, but with a larger variety of settings. 
In Allison's Psalter of 1599 the 9 "short tunnes" of Este 
reappear with i new one. In the settings in this last psalter 
the melody is usually in the upper part. 

Far more important than any of these is Thomas 
Ravenscroft's Whole Booke ofPsalmes of 1621. This carries 
on the work of Este and Barley, but contains besides a large 
number of new four-line tunes. Hitherto D.G.M. tunes 
had preponderated : but now the balance swings over 
heavily to the side of the single ones. Este's practice of 
giving local names to these is followed, and extended to all. 
Here are 'Bristol' *53 f6 62, 'Lincoln' *i43 f 140 {171, 
and 'Salisbury' *yio, in the "English" category: and 
'St. David' *352 |i66 $301, in the "Welsh". The "Scot- 
tish" tunes (which include 'Dundee') are taken from the 
Scottish Psalter of 1615 and will be dealt with below. To 
ps. 104 is given, in place of the Genevan tune in use since 
1561, a new English one, the splendid 'Old io4th' *i67 
(178 Jan. Some twenty-four musicians contributed, but 
the bulk of the work was done by Ravenscroft himself, who 
reset many of the old tunes and set many of the new short 
ones. His resetting of the "Old xooth" (to serve for the 
"Psalme before Evening Prayer") is given in *i66d fsGsb 
*443b. The Dowland setting in Este *:66c fs65c +4430 
kept its place for the psalm itself, but in a modified form. 

"Ravenscroft's Psalter," says Dr. Frere, "thus repre- 
sented the last term in a long development, and the most 
popular, though not in all respecls the best, application of 
the English art in its heyday to the psalmody of the 
Church. It was several times republished and was the 
medium through which the tradition was principally 
handed on to the later generations." 226 Like the Prayer 
Book and the Old Version itself, it went down before the 
storm of the triumphant Puritan assault on the Church : 
but its influence was to reappear when the old Church 
life was built up again after the Restoration. 



It was to help to revive this on its musical side that the 
music-publisher John Playford put forth in 1671 his 
Psalms and Hymns in Solemn Mustek of Foure Parts on the 
Common Tunes to the Psalms in Metre : Used in Parish-Churches. 
In the preface he complains thus of the decay of psalmody : 

At this day the Best, and almost all the Choice Tunes are 
lost, and out of use in our Churches : nor must we exped it 
otherwayes, when in and about this great City, in above One 
hundred Parishes, there is but few Parish Clerks to be found 
that have either Ear or Understanding to set one of these 
Tunes Musically as it ought to be. 

By way of amending this situation Playford supplied 47 
tunes of all sorts, with psalm-versions taken not from the 
Old Version only but from other translations as well. The 
melody of these is always in the Tenor : the other parts are 
two Counter-Tenors and Bass. If trebles are available they 
are to sing the melody with the Tenors. In this collection 
Playford seems to have worked in independence of 
Ravenscroft : and the confusing pradtice is adopted of 
assigning new names to several of the four-line tunes. In 
addition to the psalms that form the body of the book 1 7 
hymns are given: but these will be more conveniently 
dealt with in the next chapter. 

This first effort of Playford's was not a success. It was, 
in fact, too good for the taste and resources of its time. So 
six years later he made another attempt on a much less 
ambitious scale a small book instead of a stately folio, 
with tunes in only three parts and the melody given to the 
Treble instead of the Tenor : for he realizes that often 
only trebles and basses will be available. Alternative tunes 
and versions, too, are provided where the others are too 
difficult. In this Whole Book of Psalms both the tunes and 
their nomenclature are much closer to Ravenscroft's : but 
Playford rejeds most of his Scottish and Welsh tunes 
as "outlandish". He includes, however, the fine tune 'St. 
Mary' *93 f84 $116, which had appeared in Archdeacon 



Prys's Welsh metrical psalter of 1621 and now found a 
place in an English Psalter for the first time. In this form 
Playford's book became the standard one in England for 
as long as the Old Version held the field. 

Before leaving /the subject of these psalm-tunes of the 
Old Version it may be well to say something concerning 
the manner in which they are set out in the early Psalters. 
A criticism frequently directed against nineteenth-century 
hymnals is that their versions of these tunes "iron them 
out" in such a way as to substitute a monotonous "equal- 
note" rhythm for the varied rhythm of the original forms : 
and the more recent hymnals take great credit to them- 
selves for having "restored" the latter. But the question is 
not quite so simple as it appears. Dr. Frere has made care- 
ful researches into the subject and expresses his conclusion 
thus : "These hymn-tunes, as a rule, in their early form 
began each odd line with a long note, and each even line 
either with a corresponding long note or else with a 
syncopation ; but apart from this there was no uniformity 
of rhythm : minims and semibreves alternated in the freest 
possible way, and there was evidently nothing very settled 
in this respect, since in most tunes variations occur with 
every successive edition." 227 Thus it is hard to say that 
there is a "correct" version of any tune. Even in regard to 
the long note at the beginning of any line, it should be re- 
membered that this was primarily intended as a "gather- 
ing-note" to help the congregation to get a grip on the 
melody of that particular line ; and that the proper degree 
of the observance of these notes will depend on the 
accentuation of the words. The first foot of an iambic line 
may be in practice either an iambus, "" ~~, or a trochee, 
~~ "" ; in the former case a shorter note is indicated, in 
the latter a longer. The truth of the whole matter appears 
to be well summed up by Dr. S. H. Nicholson, when he 
says that "it would seem that the psalm-tune in its rhythm 
should be regarded (just as the Anglican chant) rather as 



a kind of musical formula, applicable to different verses, 
than as a set composition of unalterable accent : and as it 
seldom happens that all the verses of a hymn are exactly 
the same in the arrangement of the accents, it seems reason- 
able to give the tune in a form which most nearly matches 
in its rhythmic structure the normal form of the line. As 
the normal beginning is iambic and not trochaic, it seems 
more natural to begin with a short note than a long". 228 
Though the Old Version was the principal, it was far 
from being the only, metrical psalter that existed in the 
period which we have just reviewed. Two may be men- 
tioned here on account of the traces that they have left in 
the music of our hymn-books. Archbishop Parker, while 
lying perdu in Mary's reign, translated the whole Psalter 
into various metres, along with the Canticles and the 
Veni Creator. This was printed for him in 1567 by Day. Its 
main interest for us lies in the 9 tunes by Thomas Tallis 
(c. 1510-85) set out at the end of it to provide settings 
for Parker's versions. The first 8 form a group, of which 
each is in one of the 8 "modes". 4 of these are in D.G.M., 
2 in D.L.M., while the other 2 are in D.S.M. and 
respectively. The set is preceded by the following quaint 
description of "The nature of the eyght tunes" : 

1 . The first is meeke : devout to see, 

2. The second sad : in maiesty, 

3. The third doth rage : and roughly brayth, 

4. The fourth doth fayne : and flattery playth, 

5. The fifth delight : and laugheth the more, 

6. The sixth bewayleth : and weepeth full sore, 

7. The seventh tredeth stoute : in froward race, 

8. The eyghte goeth milde : in modest pace. 

The ninth tune is an "extra" and is in 4-line C.M., being 
set to the translation of Veni Creator. It is the well-known 
'Tallis's Ordinal' *5o8 1453 664. Even more familiar is 
the celebrated "Tallis's Canon" *23 1267 45, which is a 
cutting down of the 8th tune from 8 lines to 4. Five of the 
others have recently been revived those in the ist, 2nd, 



3rd, 5th and yth modes respectively, f 78 625 ; f 3 ; 
+^75 j +4^3 ; T4Q6- It may be added that the 3rd mode 
melody is the "theme of Thomas Tallis" on which 
Vaughan Williams has founded his solemn and moving 
'Fantasia' for strings. 

These modal tunes of Tallis are beautiful things of their 
kind : but it is doubtful whether they can be really said to 
come within the category of "hymn-tunes" in the modern 
popular sense. They are more appropriate for singing as 
little anthems than for congregational use. A note which 
Tallis has set at the head of them states that "the Tenor of 
these partes be for the people when they will sing alone, 
the other parts, put for greater queers [choirs], or to such 
as will syng or play them privately e". In point of facl, the 
treble part of the original is often more attractive as 
melody than the tenor : but as Dr. E. H. Fellowes, the lead- 
ing authority on Tudor music, says in a letter to the 
present writer which he has kindly given him leave to 
quote, "these great composers, writing in four parts, 
could make every one of them a melody". He adds : 
"Tallis states clearly that both the tenor and the treble 
parts are to be regarded as melody for alternative pur- 
poses. But in both uses the score must be kept as Tallis 
wrote it. It is pedantic and wrong to print these tunes, as 
has been done, with the tenor on the top and the treble 
part put into the tenor position." 

A later metrical psalter which, like Parker's, was for 
private use was George Sandys's, of which the 2nd edition 
(1638), called A Paraphrase upon the Divine Poems , contained 
24 "new tunes for private devotion" by Henry Lawes 
(1596-1662) the musician to whom Milton addressed 
his sonnet beginning : 

Harry, whose tuneful and well measur'd song 
First taught our English music how to span 
Words with just note and accent, not to scan 
With Midas' ears, committing short and long. 



4 of these find a place in both E.H. and S.P. : f 217, 219, 
234, 432 ; $22, 227, 589, 290. E.H. has also a fifth : 


The ever-growing multitude of rival metrical transla- 
tions of the Psalter side by side with the Old Version was 
for a long time without effecT: in challenging its supremacy. 
But meanwhile the dissatisfaction of the polite and edu- 
cated world at its patent crudities was steadily growing : 
and at the end of the seventeenth century an opportunity 
at last came of giving it an authorized successor. This was 
the appearance of a new translation from the hands of 
two Irishmen the then Poet Laureate, Nahum Tate 
(1652-1715) and Dr. Nicholas Brady (i65g-?i726). It was 
first published in 1696. William III accepted the dedica- 
tion : and it was immediately "allowed" by order of the 
King in Council. It should be understood that this "New 
Version", as it came to be called, was no more than an 
authorized alternative to the Old, "permitted to be used 
in all churches, etc., as shall think fit to receive it". The 
two rival versions were to go on side by side till the end, 
though the popularity of the elder steadily declined, at 
least later on. 

At first there were few signs that this was to be the case. 
The New Version was recommended by the Archbishop 
of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. Dr. Bray, 
founder of the Society for Promoting Christian Know- 
ledge, maintained that the Old was the chief cause of the 
decay of psalmody. But the learned Bishop Beveridge 
launched a trenchant attack upon the intruder, not only 
complaining of the inconvenience of having two versions, 
but stressing the superiority of the Old in its fidelity to the 
Hebrew and its capacity to be understood by the people, 
and denouncing the "fine and modish" character, 



"flourished with wit and fancy", of the New. It was at first 
Used only in a few churches in London : and even there 
Brady's own church, St. Catharine Gree, cast it out as 
"an innovation not to be endured". Dr. Samuel Wesley, 
father of John and Charles, while considering it much 
superior to the Old, told his curate at Epworth that "they 
must be content with their grandsire Sternhold" for the 
sake of the people, "who have a strange genius at under- 
standing nonsense". 229 The common people certainly did 
their best to justify this estimate of their capacities. The 
Old Version was regarded by many of them as possessing 
not less than a Divine authority. Tate himself tells us how 
a maid in his brother's house, refusing to join in family 
prayers, explained : "If you must know the plain truth, 
Sir : as long as you sung Jesus Christ's psalms, I sung along 
with ye : but now that you sing psalms of your own in- 
vention, ye may sing by yourselves." 23 

The new book was followed in 1700 by a separate 
Supplement (designed to be "bound up with the Volume"), 
which provided not only additions to the words in the 
shape of alternative versions and hymns, but also tunes 
which could be used either for the New Version or the 
Old. The alternative versions were intended to be used 
with the tunes in "peculiar" metre which had become 
familiar in connection with the Old Version : the "hymns", 
which included the famous Christmas hymn, 'While 
shepherds watched', will be spoken of later. The 
psalms of the New Version were almost all in the ordinary 
metres : and these metres were to be served by a colleclion 
of what were called "the Usuall tunes", which were all 
those of the earlier metrical Psalters, though sometimes 
differently named. 

In the 3rd edition (1702) and the 4th (1704) this selec- 
tion of tunes was enlarged : and in the 6th edition (1708) 
many new tunes were provided and all the tunes arranged 
in two parts. This edition is noteworthy for including a 



number of tunes that have attained to classic rank : 'St. 
Anne' *i65 J45Q 598, 'Hanover' *43i 1466 J6i8, 'St. 
Matthew' *s6g 1526 287 and 'Alfreton' *yi f24o $237. 
Its editor is said to have been the eminent Dr. William 
Croft (1678-1727), organist of Westminster Abbey: and 
there is every reason to believe that the four tunes in 
question are from his pen. Later editions followed this of 
1708 closely. 

From a literary point of view "Tate and Brady" was 
generally regarded by contemporary taste as an improve- 
ment on " Sternhold and Hopkins" "Ye scoundrel old 
bards and a brace of dull knaves", as a satirist of the time 
retrospectively addressed the latter. 231 The "wit and 
fancy" with which Bishop Beveridge found fault are not 
too conspicuous to our eyes : and a modern taste may even 
find not very much to choose between the roughness of the 
Old Version and the tame smoothness of the New. The 
story goes that once Queen Victoria asked Bishop Wilber- 
force, "What is a drysalter ? " : to which the Bishop re- 
plied "Tate and Brady, Madam". Yet it is not to be 
denied that whereas the Old Version has left nothing 
behind in our hymnals, to the New we are indebted for 
two of our most popular hymns, 'Through all the chang- 
ing scenes of life' *2go 1502 $677, and 'As pants the hart' 
*238 1367 +449, as well as for three others : 'Thou, Lord, 
by strictest search' *658, 'Have mercy, Lord, on me' 
*249 J74 and 'O GOD of hosts' *237- 

In addition to the Supplement a number of private collec- 
tions of psalms and tunes were issued about the same 
period. A collection of 1697 for use in St. James', West- 
minster, contained the familiar tune, 'St. James' *ig9 
T34 1 +965 probably by Ralph Gourteville, organist of that 
church. But by far the most important of these collections 
was another Playford publication. In 1701 Henry Play- 
ford, son of John, first issued his celebrated The Divine 
Companion, or David's Harp New Tun'd, being a choice collec- 



tion of Mew and Easy Psalms and Anthems. . . . The signifi- 
cance of this volume in its hymnal aspedt will be dealt 
with in the next chapter. Here we may mention that 
among the new tunes (including 6 by Dr. Blow) appears 
for the first time 'Uffingham' *658 1434 +564, by Jeremiah 
Clarke (c. 1670-1707). The enlarged 2nd edition of 1709 
included three more tunes by Croft, 'Croft's i48th' (or 
i36th) *4i4 t565 J657, Winchester' J398 J59 and 
'Eatington 5 1639 192, together with 'Brockham 5 *723 
f 220 228, 'Tunbridge' *645 f88 474, and the familiar 
'St. Magnus' *3oi fi47 175 the two former certainly, 
and the last presumably, by Jeremiah Clarke. Concern- 
ing the tunes written by Clarke, who became organist of 
St. Paul's in 1695 and died by his own hand in 1707, 
Dr. Bridges has said that "they are the first in merit of 
their kind, as they were the first in time ; and they are 
truly national and popular in style." About a generation 
later William Knapp (1690-1768), Parish Clerk of 
Wareham, Dorset, published his Sett of New Psalm 
Tunes and Anthems (1738). This contained the well-known 
'Wareham' *63 f475 +631, and the even finer 'Spetis- 
bury', so well wedded in A.M. to Bridges's splendid 
hymn on the Holy Angels (originally written for the 
Tattendon Hymnal to fit another tune), 'All praise be to 

The publication of the New Version may thus be said 
to mark the beginning of a new advance in the music of 
the English Church. With regard to the manner of psalm- 
singing at this period two points may be noted. First, the 
psalms seem to have been sung at a pace in comparison 
with which "the slowest singing of to-day would have 
seemed fast". 232 Further, it was usual to interpolate 
between the lines of a psalm organ-interludes often of 
considerable elaboration. This custom continued till com- 
paratively recent times, like the use of the psalm versions 
themselves. 233 




A detailed account of the Scottish Psalter lies outside 
the scope of the present book. But before concluding this 
chapter something may be said about its evolution, both 
for the sake of completeness and also on account of the 
musical legacies it has left to Anglican hymnals. 

The English and the Scottish Psalters, as we have said, 
derive from the same parent-stem, and up to the year 1558 
their history is identical. From that point, however, the 
two diverged, and developed in quite different ways while 
retaining a common nucleus. 234 We have already spoken 
of the English editions of 1560 and 1561, the two pen- 
ultimate stages towards the completed Psalter of 1562. 
Concurrently with that of 1561 an "Anglo-Genevan" 
Psalter appeared at Geneva intended for the use of the 
exiles left behind, and still linked with the Genevan Form 
of Prayer. This contained 25 new psalm- versions in addi- 
tion to the 62 of 1558, probably all written by William 
Kethe (who was presumably a Scot), and most of them 
written in metres to fit the Genevan tunes. Some 20 new 
tunes were given, all Genevan except for the ' Vater unser' 
used for Cox's Lord's Prayer. The Scottish Reformers 
adopted this book for their own : and in 1564 a complete 
Psalter, The Whole Psalmes of David, was issued as part of 
the Presbyterian Book of Common Order. Besides the 87 
versions of 1561, 42 were taken from the English Psalter of 
1562 and 21 were contributed by two Scots, Robert Pont 
and John Craig. The tunes numbered 105 in all, many of 
them Genevan a far richer collection than that in the 
complete English Psalter. 

The Scottish Psalter had no influence on the English 
save in one respecl: the four-line C.M. tunes. 235 In 1615 
an edition of the Psalter was published by Andro Hart in 
Edinburgh containing a supplement of these tunes (called 
"Common Tunes"), similar to those given by Este, 



Barley and Allison. They numbered 1 2 and included some 
of those in the English books and some others : among 
them the 'French Tune', which was rechristened 'Dundee' 
by Ravenscroft and has become one of our best-known 
tunes, *22i |428 t557; 'The Stilt' (Ravenscroft's 'York') 
*237 |4?2 628; and the splendid 'Old Martyrs' 
t449 l59?3 Burns's "plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the 
name" most worthy, but in truth far more for its 
heroic than for its plaintive quality. All of these were in- 
corporated by Ravenscroft. Playford for the most part 
rejected them : but through Ravenscroft's influence the 
three that we have particularized won their way to 
popularity in England. 

In another book published by Hart's heirs in 1635 the 
number of 4-line tunes was increased to 31. One of 
these was adopted by Playford in his 1671 collection 
and renamed by him 'London New' *373 f394 +503. 
Another is 'Caithness' *630 ii, J445 i } +112. 

From what has been said in this chapter it will appear 
that our debt to the metrical psalters of all lands lies much 
more in the department of music than of words. On the 
other hand, a far larger proportion of our current hymns 
than is generally realized by those who sing them is taken 
more or less direct from the psalms. If "Tate and Brady" 
have given us few hymns and "Sternhold and Hopkins" 
none at all (except the Old Hundredth, which is by some- 
body else), Christian poets of all ages since the Reforma- 
tion have been successful in transforming the biblical 
psalms into English hymns of wide popular appeal. An 
attempt is made to give a list of these in Appendix D at 
the end of the volume. A glance at this list will suffice to 
show how even in the vast and various field of modern 
hymn-singing the old-fashioned ideal of "metrical 
psalmody" can still find a place. 




IN England as in other countries a vernacular hymnody 
grew up during the Middle Ages side by side with the 
Latin hymnody of the liturgical services. The first 
beginnings of this go back far into Anglo-Saxon times. 
Bede's charming story 236 is well known, telling how 
Caedmon, a lay brother in St. Hilda's monastery at 
Whitby, leaving the festive board one night because of his 
inability to take his turn at singing and withdrawing to 
the stable to watch the horses, heard in a dream the com- 
mand, "Caedmon, sing," and was at once inspired to 
compose a hymn "to the praise of GOD" which he recited 
to the Abbess and his brethren next morning. Bede goes 
on to relate how afterwards in the exercise of his new gift 
Caedmon turned into verse "the whole series of sacred 
history". Another story 237 concerns a contemporary of 
Caedmon, St. Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne (d. 709). 
Being distressed, when Abbot of Malmesbury, by the un- 
willingness of the Wessex folk to hear sermons, he took his 
station on the bridge over the Avon, and there, minstrel- 
wise, sang to the people lively songs of his own making 
until a crowd collected, whereupon he changed his strain 
to a graver and religious note. Lays attributed to Aldhelm 
were still sung in the days of King Alfred, who deemed 
him superior to any other native poet. Like Aldhelm, 
Alfred himself was poet and scholar : and to him is attri- 



buted the Anglo-Saxon original of a hymn in A.M., 'O 
GOD our Maker, throned on high' *664. 

The closing centuries of the Middle Ages produced in 
our country a remarkable efflorescence of sacred poetry 
marked by a tender and passionate piety that we hardly 
find it easy in these days to associate with the English 
character. Its most salient feature is an intense personal 
love of our Lord, which delights to contemplate Him as 
Lover of men and Redeemer and to dwell on the details 
of His Passion. Side by side with this goes a no less fervent 
devotion to His Mother. The leading figure in this school 
is the fourteenth-century Yorkshire hermit and mystic, 
Richard Rolle of Hampole (1290-1349), of whom it has 
been said that "Jesus is to him the one passion". His 
voluminous writings include both prose and verse. Of the 
poems of Rolle and his like no complete collection as yet 
exists : but a large number of them have been printed in 
various scholarly editions. The cream of them is collected 
and reproduced with just enough of modernization in 
the language to make them easily intelligible to the 
ordinary reader in Miss Frances Comper's beautiful 
volume recently published with the title Spiritual Songs 
from English MSS. of Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries. Two 
short examples taken from this collection may be set down 
here as illustrative of the general character of these poems. 
The first is a little song by Richard Rolle : 

Jhesu that died on the rood 

for the love of me, 

and bought me with thy precious blood, 

thou have mercy of me. 

What me lets of any thing 
for to love thee, 
be it me lief, be it me loth, 
do it away from me. 

The second example consists of three of the eight verses 



of a Prayer to Jesus that bears the name of Richard de 
Caistre, a Norwich priest who died in 1420 : 

Jhesu, for thy woundis smart 

Of thy feet and handen two, 
Make me meek and low of heart 

And thee to love as I should do. 

Jhesu, Lord that madest me 

And with thy blessed blood me bought, 

Forgive that I" have grieved thee 
With worde, worke, will and thought. 

Jhesu, in whom is all my trust, 

That died upon the rood-tree, 
Withdraw my heart fro fleshly lust, 

From covetise and vanity. 238 

Concerning such poems Miss Comper says that "many 
were set to music, and others, judging by their lilt and 
rhythm, may have been sung. For friars and monks, and 
no doubt anchoresses and nuns also, as well as trouba- 
dours, sang their spiritual love ditties to simple instru- 
ments of their own devising". 239 But we have no proof 
that they were used as "hymns" in the sense of being sung 
in church. They were apparently intended in many cases 
to be used as silent devotions at Mass. The case is other- 
wise with the carols for Christmas and other sacred seasons 
which England, like the other countries of Western 
Europe, produced in abundance in the later Middle 
Ages. Here, too, not only the words have survived, but 
in many cases the music also. We cannot deal with these 
carols here beyond saying that they often breathe the 
same tender fervour as the poems mentioned above, and 
that their rediscovery and publication in many collections 
of carols of the last generation have brought a wonderful 
enrichment of our native sacred song, and resulted in a 
large-scale eviction of the faded sentimentalities that 



masqueraded under the title of carol in the Victorian 
age. But we may cite as examples the exquisite poem 'I 
sing of a maiden that is makeles' (dating from the fifth- 
teen th century), and the two lovely carols in the Coventry 
Nativity Play, 'This endris night' and 'Lullay, lullay, thou 
little tiny child'. The contemporary tune of the second 
of these three is used in |20 $72. 


During the two centuries that followed the Reformation 
the Church of England had practically nothing to show 
in the way of congregational hymnody apart from metrical 
versions of the Psalter. In the first stage of the reforming 
movement there seemed a momentary possibility of its 
developing a hymnody on the Lutheran model. Evidence 
of this is the volume called Goostly Psalmes and Spiritualle 
Songs, 240 of which an unique copy exists in the library of 
Queen's College, Oxford. It is the work of the translator 
of the Bible, Miles Coverdale, who was made Bishop of 
Exeter in 1551. It was published in the reign of Henry 
VIII : but the exact date is uncertain. The preface thus 
indicates its object : 

Would GOD our carters and ploughmen (had none) other 
thing to whistle upon save psalms . . . and if women . . . 
spinning at the wheels had none other songs . . . they should be 
better occupied than with hey nony nony, hey troly loly. 

a characteristic anticipation of the later Puritan attitude 
towards secular folk-song. The 41 items contained in it 
include 15 versions of the psalms, together with para- 
phrases of the Commandments, Creed, Lord's Prayer, 
Media vita ('In the midst of life'), Gloria in excelsis, Mag- 
nificat) Nunc dimittis, Christe qui lux and Veni Creator 
sometimes more than one of a single original. Of the re- 
maining 15 items, 13 are English translations of German 
hymns of the Reformation. The first verse of one of these, 
'Crist is now risen agayne', was quoted in an earlier 
L 151 


chapter. The other two of the 15 "hymns" would seem to 
be of native origin viz. a hymn to the Holy Spirit 
(based on the Veni Creator), and one that begins with the 
uncompromising sentiment, 'Let go the whore of Babilon'! 
Apart from these two it would appear that not the hymns 
only but all the contents of the volume are translated from 
German originals. 

A further proof that the pioneers of the English Refor- 
mation intended to make hymns a part of Divine Service 
is supplied by the well-known letter of Granmer to 
Henry VIII, dated Oct. 7, 1544 (or 1545). The Arch- 
bishop writes : 

I have translated into the English Tongue, so well as I could 
in so short time, certain processions, to be used upon festival 
days. . . . If your grace command some devout and solemn 
note to be made thereunto ... I trust it will much excitate and 
stir the hearts of all men unto devotion and godliness. But in 
mine opinion the song that shall be made thereunto would not 
be full of notes, but, as near as may be, for every syllable a note, 
so that it may be sung distinctly and devoutly. ... As concern- 
ing the Salve festa dies the Latin note, as I think, is sober and 
distinct enough : wherefore I have travailed to make the 
verses in English and have put the Latin note unto the same. 
Nevertheless they that be cunning in singing can make a much 
more solemn note thereto. I made them only for proof to see 
how English would do in song. But, by cause mine English 
verses want the grace and facility that I could wish they had, 
your majesty may cause some other to make them again that 
can do the same in more pleasant English and phrase. 241 

For some reason, however (we may conjecture that the 
influence of Galvin had something to do with it), nothing 
more came of the matter : and in the successive editions 
of the Book of Common Prayer the only hymns that 
appear are the translations of the Veni Creator in the 
Ordinal (see pp. 81, 159). On the other hand, the Primers 
issued for private devotion did include hymns. Rough 
versions of Latin hymns had already figured in the pre- 
Reformation Sarum Primers : and they are also to be 


found in the Primers of Henry VIII, which doubtless 
passed through Cranmer's hands. In Edward VI's Primer 
of 1553 they are excluded, no doubt deliberately: but 
they reappear in Elizabeth's Primer of 1559, which was 
based on those of Henry VIII. The use of hymns, whether 
translations from the Latin or otherwise, is envisaged by 
the 49th of the Royal Injunctions of 1559, which permits 

that in the beginning, or in the end of common prayers, either 
at morning or evening, there may be sung a hymn, or such- 
like song ... in the best sort of melody and music that may 
be conveniently devised, having regard that the sentence of 
the hymn may be understood and perceived. 242 

But by this time the people had taken a fancy for singing 
metrical psalms : and no doubt the influence of the 
Reformers newly come back from Geneva was adverse to 
the use of anything else. The Old Version of Sternhold and 
Hopkins quickly acquired an almost canonical authority ; 
and held the field to the virtual exclusion of the experi- 
ments on Latin or Lutheran models which a decade or 
two earlier had seemed to have a future before them. 

Only through the back-door of the appendices to the 
successive editions of the Psalter was it possible for a few 
hymns to make a shy and tentative re-entry in that psalm- 
ridden age. In that of 1561 appears the "Humble Suit 
of a Sinner", 'O Lord, turn not away Thy face' *93 
|84 Jn6, which still holds its place in our hymn-books ; 
along with five other hymns (two of them translations 
of Lutheran originals) that have sunk beneath the 
stream of time. In 1562 the "Humble Suit" reappears, 
now rechristened "The Lamentation of a Sinner" and 
with the name of J. Marckant attached to it, together 
with two more hymns in a similar penitential key. 

For a long time no addition was to be made to this 
beggarly repertory. The Church of England had to rest 
content with the Old Version and its meagre doggerel 



Supplement. It may seem strange that a Church that 
possessed so magnificent a prose liturgy as the Book of 
Common Prayer should have been satisfied to be so poorly 
equipped on the poetical side of its worship. But here the 
Genevan influence reigned supreme. The Prayer Book it 
had to accept as a, fait accompli, along with the noble build- 
ings inherited from the Middle Ages, while at the same 
time doing its best to reduce to a minimum the appeal of 
both to the aesthetic sensibilities of its victims. But so far 
as Church song was concerned, its pet principle of "The 
Bible and the Bible only" held the field. Thus the superb 
poetical outburst of the Elizabethan Age expressed such 
religious aspiration as it could show in elaborate forms un- 
intended and unsuitable for Church use. For Spenser, as 
for Milton more than a generation later, a "Hymn" is 
simply a religious ode. The only trace that the age has 
left in our hymn-books consists of a few treasures that have 
recently been made to serve a purpose for which they were 
not designed and are not always well-fitted. The Sunday 
hymn 'Most glorious Lord of life' 1283 22 is a sonnet of 
Spenser's : and S.P. has made similar but far less appro- 
priate use of one of Shakespeare's sonnets, 'Poor soul, the 
centre of my sinful earth' +622, and of the exquisite song 
of Edmund Campion, 'Never weather-beaten sail' +587. 
More suitable for use as hymns are three other poems in 
the same collection : a second song of Campion's, 'Sing a 
song of joy' 639, Thomas Gascoigne's 'You that have 
spent the silent night' 38, and Sir H. Wotton's 'How 
happy is he born and taught' 524, with Sir Philip Sidney's 
beautiful paraphrase of ps. 139, 'O Lord, in me there 
lieth naught' 605. 

Apart from these the only Elizabethan hymn in our 
collections and the only one of them all that has as yet 
come into common use is of Roman Catholic origin : 
'Jerusalem my happy home.' 243 The version of it in A.M. 
is a rewritten fragment. The whole is given in 1638 


+395> an d is exquisitely quaint and charming. Its author- 
ship is more or less a mystery, as to which there has been 
much conjecture but can be no certainty. It is found in a 
MS. book in the British Museum. The MS. is undated ; 
but appears to belong to the end of the sixteenth or be- 
ginning of the seventeenth century. The poem is headed, 
'A song made by F.B.P. to the tune of Diana'. It was first 
printed in 1601 in a volume entitled The Song of Mary the 
Mother of Christ . . . with the Description of Heavenly Jerusalem. 
In this version the number of stanzas is reduced from 26 to 
19, and there are many variants from the original MS. 
text if it be the original and not another form of a still 
earlier version. Inasmuch as the British Museum MS. con- 
tains several other pieces of poetry evidently written by 
Roman Catholics, it has been suggested that F.B.P. was a 
vidim of the persecution of Roman Catholics under 
Elizabeth or James I. The further suggestion has been 
made that the initials stand for Francis Baker, Pater (or 
Priest) : but there seems to be no proof of this whatever. 
The writer was presumably a Roman Catholic and 
possibly a priest that is all that we can say. There is a 
striking general resemblance between his poem and 
another on the same subjed of the Heavenly Jerusalem by 
W. Prid (first published in 1585), a cento from which 
appears in S.P. +393. The likeness may be due to the fad 
that both are apparently based on a passage describing 
the joys of heaven in a book of Meditations ascribed to St. 
Augustine which was very popular in the sixteenth 

The Jacobean and Caroline periods were hardly less 
barren in the sphere of hymnody than the Elizabethan : 
for the tyranny of the Genevan principle still held firm. 
It is true that our modern hymnals contain a certain 
number of hymns of this date : but the poets whose names 
they bear wrote these lyrics for their own satisfadion and 
that of the literary public, not with an eye to liturgical 



use. This, for example, is the case with George Herbert 
(1593-1633). Not only were his poems not written to be 
sung in church, but most of them are quite unsuited 
to the purpose by reason of the elaborate and fan- 
tastic imagery which Herbert shared with the other poets 
of his time, and also on account of their peculiar metres. 
One could wish that this were not so : for no poet quite so 
perfectly expresses the characteristic Anglican mentality 
at its best as this exquisite combination of the poet, the 
scholar, the gentleman and the saint the scion of a 
great house who after a brilliant career at Cambridge, 
where he was Public Orator, retired to the little village of 
Bemerton near Salisbury to end his short life as a model 
parish priest. On the other hand, the few poems of his 
that have come into use as hymns are in every way worthy 
of their place, and three of them at least have won wide 
popularity. They include the splendid 'Antiphon', 'Let 
all the world in every corner sing' *548 1427 +556, 'King 
of glory, King of peace' *665 1424 +553, 'Teach me, my 
GOD and King', 1485 652, 'Come, my Way, my Truth, 
my Life' 474, and the lovely paraphrase of the 23rd 
psalm, 'The GOD of love my Shepherd is' 1 93 653. 

A senior contemporary of Herbert was John Donne 
(1573-1631), the famous Dean of St. Paul's. His poem 
(written during the illness which was the occasion of his 
volume of Devotions] , 'Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I 
begun' 123 = 1515, nas been of late years turned to use as 
a hymn. Concerning it Izaak Walton tells us in his Life 
of the author that after his recovery "he caused it to be 
set to a most grave and solemn tune, and to be often sung 
by the Choristers of St. Paul's Church, in his own hearing ; 
especially at the Evening Service" 244 as a kind of 
anthem, we may assume. Fine and deeply felt poem 
though it be, it can hardly be regarded as entirely suitable 
for general congregational use. 

Other poets of the time whose poems have been used as 



hymns include Robert Herrick ('In the hour of my 
distress' f4 10 ) > Phineas Fletcher ('Drop, drop, slow tears' 
f 98 +125) ; Henry Vaughan the Silurist ('My soul, there is 
a country' +5^5) 5 Thomas Pestel, Charles Fs Chaplain in 
Ordinary, evicled by the Roundheads in 1646 ('Behold, 
the great Creator makes' f 20 72) ; and Sir Thomas 
Browne ('The night is come like to the day' $58). The 
similarity of the last-named hymn to Ken's Evening Hymn 
will be referred to later. The 19 psalm-paraphrases by the 
great John Milton (1608-74), of which 'Let us with a 
gladsome mind' j 532 Jia, and 'The Lord will come and 
not be slow' f 492 +658, are two specimens, may have been 
in part written with a view to a new Puritan psalter. Sir 
H. W. Baker's harvest hymn, 'Praise, O praise our GOD 
and King' *38i, is based upon the former, which was 
written by the poet at the age of fifteen. 

For a brief moment in the first half of the seventeenth 
century the monopoly of the Old Version seemed to be 
threatened and the possibility of a large development of 
hymnody proper appeared on the horizon, only to be 
quickly eclipsed. In 1623 George Wither (1588-1667) 
published his Hymnes and Songs of the Church,*^ 5 a book 
which has been described as "the earliest attempt at an 
English hymn-book". It was accompanied by a number of 
tunes by the foremost English musician of the age, Orlando 
Gibbons (1583-1625). These tunes, which are in various 
metres and are set out in two parts, treble and bass, 
number 16 in all: but some of them are only different 
versions of a single tune. The book was at first received 
with high favour at Court and elsewhere : and the author 
obtained a patent from the King, ordering it to be bound 
up with the Old Version wherever this was in use. The 
first part consisted of metrical paraphrases o Scripture ; 
the second of hymns for the Festivals, Seasons and Holy 
Days of the Prayer Book, and also for Special Occasions, 
together with a long hymn for use at the administration of 



Holy Communion. But despite the approval of the King 
and of leading Churchmen, Wither's book aroused bitter 
opposition. The Stationers' Company, which had a 
monopoly of the Old Version, contrived to make the 
patent nugatory : and it was withdrawn by the Council in 
1634. Later Wither went over to the Parliament side and 
eventually became one of Cromwell's Major-Generals . 
The story goes that, when he was taken prisoner by the 
Royalists, Sir John Denham saved his life by pleading 
that "his Majesty must not hang George Wither, for so 
long as he lives no one will account me the worst poet in 
England". This anecdote and Pope's name for him 
"wretched Withers (sic)" hardly suggest for him a high 
rank as poet : but his writings contain good stuff as well as 
bad. "Wither," said Lord Selborne, "wrote, generally, in a 
pure nervous English idiom, and preferred the reputation 
of 'rusticity' (an epithet applied to him even by Baxter) to 
the tricks and artifices of poetical style which were then in 
favour." 246 S.P. contains three of his hymns : the "Sun- 
set Hymn", 'Behold the sun that seem'd but now' 43 
(also *4y6) , 'To GOD with heart and cheerful voice' +176 
and 'The Lord of heaven confess' 657. It should be added 
that Gibbons's tunes shared the fate of the hymns they 
companioned and were entirely neglefted for many 
generations, apart from 'Angels' or 'Angel's Song' 1259 
29 (the version in *8 is spoilt) so called because 
originally set to a song beginning 'Thus angels sung, and 
thus sing we' which got into general use through its 
inclusion in Playford's collection of 1671. But in recent 
years they have won wide admiration and currency, and 
assuredly may take rank among the most beautiful, not of 
English hymn-tunes only, but of those of all lands. S.P. 
gives no less than 1 1 of them : 29, 103, 125, 134, 204, 261, 

485, 574> 584, 6 4 (i), 6 48. 
In 1627 the saintly John Cosin (1564-1672), who was 

to become Bishop of Durham at the Restoration, first pub- 



lished his Collection of Private Devotions in the Practice of the 
Ancient Church called the Hours of Prayer. This (as its name 
indicates) was intended for private use, like the old 
Primers, the successor of which it claimed to be. Its exten- 
sive employment of patristic and mediaeval material (in- 
cluding translations of old Latin Office hymns) brought 
down upon it the virulent attacks of the Puritan party 
Prynne nicknamed it "Mr. Cozens His Gouzening Devo- 
tions" : and even after the Restoration its vogue and 
influence were limited. But one of its translations won the 
signal honour of being included in the Ordinal of the 
Prayer Book of 1661 the version (or, rather, para- 
phrase) of the "Hymn for the Third Hour", Veni Creator 
Spiritus, which was then provided in addition to the dull 
C.M. version that had done duty alone since 1549 (p. 81). 

This, however, was merely a matter of supplying an 
alternative for something that was already there. The 
Church's triumph over Puritanism at the Restoration 
brought with it no extension of the province of hymnody 
in Anglican worship. The Old Version still provided all 
that was deemed necessary in this resped. On the other 
hand, it was during the Restoration period that the first 
tentative steps were taken towards the evolution of the 
"English hymn" in the sense in which we now understand 
the phrase. This process manifested itself in two directions. 

i. The first of these is the extension of the principle of 
metrical translation or paraphrase from the Psalter to 
other portions of Scripture. The appendix to the Old 
Version had already done this in regard to the Gospel 
Canticles: and during the Commonwealth period 
attempts were made both in England and in Scotland to 
apply the same principle more widely. Of the English 
attempts the most notable is connected with the name of 
William Barton (c. 1603-1678), a Puritan divine who con- 
formed to the Anglican settlement after the Restoration. 
Of him Dr. Louis Benson has remarked that "he stands at, 



and it must be said, he crosses the dividing line between 
the old Psalmody and the new Hymnody". 247 His contri- 
bution took the form of a collection of hymns, each of 
which consisted of selected texts and passages of Scripture 
turned into verse and woven into a single whole. Barton's 
first Century of seled hymns framed on these lines was pub- 
lished in 1659. In 1670 this had expanded into Two 
Centuries, and in 1688 (after his death) the whole collection 
was published as Six Centuries. In the Anglican Church 
Barton's experiment had small success : but it was widely 
taken up by the Independents and undoubtedly prepared 
the way for the later epoch-making achievement of Dr. 
Watts. Indeed, to quote Dr. Benson again, "there was no 
essential difference between Barton's hymns collected out 
of Scripture and the succeeding hymns based upon 
Scripture". 248 

2. A parallel and more permanently important de- 
velopment is seen in the appearance during the Restora- 
tion period of a number of works by various authors 
which, though originally designed for private use only, did 
much to fix the type of the English hymn as it ultimately 
established itself, and have in fa6l made important contri- 
butions to our current hymnody. The earliest of these was 
a little volume published in 1 664 with the title The Toung 
Man's Meditation, or some few Sacred Poems upon Selett Subjetts 
and Scriptures. This was the work of Samuel Grossman, a 
divine concerning whom our chief information comes 
from a passage in Wood's Athenae Oxonienses.^^ He was 
born in 1623-4 in Suffolk, and was a Bachelor of Divinity 
of Cambridge University. He was appointed Prebendary 
of Bristol Cathedral and died, aged 59, on Feb. 4, 1683, 
a few weeks after his appointment as Dean. Among the 
poems in his book is the deservedly popular hymn 'Jeru- 
salem on high' *233 f4ii +197, which forms the second 
part of a poem on Heaven of which the first part begins, 
'Sweet place, sweet place alone'. Another hymn in the 

1 60 


same collection and written in the same fine striding 
metre (already employed in some of the old psalm- 
versions) is 'My song is love unknown' t I2 7- This is a 
hymn of remarkable beauty and breathing real religious 
passion : and it thoroughly deserves to share the popu- 
larity of its better-known companion. Taken over by S.P. 
from the Public School H.B., where (with John Ireland's 
fine tune) it first appeared, it ranks as one of the most 
precious additions to our hymnody. 

Another of these welcome contributions comes from a 
book, Divine Dialogues with Divine Hymns, published in 1668 
by Dr. Henry More (i6i4-?87), the Cambridge Platonist 
who figures as one of the characters in John Inglesant. John 
Wesley was an admirer of More's book. He took it with him 
on his visit to Georgia in 1735, and later made one of its 
hymns into two for congregational use. The beautiful 
Christmas hymn in S.P., 'The holy Son of GOD most high' 
$80, consists of 4 of the i o stanzas of More's first Hymn. 

The same year, 1668, saw the publication in Paris of a 
book by a Roman Catholic convert, John Austin (1613- 
69), bearing the title Devotions in the Antient Way of Offices. 
It was to have considerable influence in Anglican circles; 
for more than one adaptation of it was made for the use of 
English Churchmen. Even before this was done Playford 
had taken the rather surprising step of including a number 
of its contents in his first book of 1671. Probably this had 
something to do with the failure of his venture. In any 
case it is only recently that Austin's hymns have come into 
public use. Two of them appear in S.P. the charming 
'Hark, my soul, how everything' 19 (also | 2 9^) and 
'Hail, glorious spirits, heirs of light' +205. 

Far more famous than any of the hymns derived from 
these Restoration collections are two that were pre- 
sumably written about the same time the "Morning" 
and "Evening Hymns" of Thomas Ken (1637-1711), the 
admirable divine who was appointed Bishop of Bath and 



Wells in 1685 and resigned his see four years later rather 
than acknowledge the "usurper" William III. They are : 
'Awake, my soul, and with the sun' *3 fssy 25, and 
'Glory to Thee, my GOD, this night' *23 J267 45, The 
exad date when they made their first appearance is un- 
certain : 25 but they would seem to have been in limited 
use in 1674, for they are apparently referred to in a 
Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Scholars of Winchester 
College which Ken, then Prebendary of Winchester, pub- 
lished in that year, and in which he says : "Be sure to sing 
the Morning and Evening Hymn in your chamber de- 
voutly." The hymns themselves are not given in the 1674 
Manual nor in successive editions until that of 1695, when 
they were added as an appendix along with a third, less 
well-known, called a " Midnight Hymn." The question 
of their date and exact text is complicated, and need not 
be dealt with here except in so far as it affects that of 
Ken's alleged " plagiarism." There are (as we have said) 
indisputable resemblances between the Evening Hymn 
and Sir Thomas Browne's " dormitive " in Religio Medici 
(i643) 251 ; as also between the Morning Hymn and a poem 
by Thomas Flatman published in 1674. It may well be, 
however, that each of the three authors (all Wykehamists) 
were no more than harking back, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, to the Latin hymns for Prime and Compline 
then still in use at College Prayers at Winchester. Even 
more striking is the resemblance between Ken's hymns 
and two metrical prayers given at the end of a little book, 
Verbum Sempiternum, published in 1693. This book was a 
reprint of a poem by John Taylor, originally published 
in 1614 ; but the two prayers do not appear till 1693 and 
there is no reason to think that they are by Taylor. On 
the other hand, there seems to be no doubt that Ken's 
hymns were written and circulated long before they were 
included in the 1695 Manual. It was indeed the existence 
of pirated editions that led Ken to publish an authorized 



text. 252 Once put into general currency Ken's Morning 
and Evening Hymns became immensely popular and 
eventually came to be inserted in the Supplement to the 
New Version. No hymns are more familiar to Christians 
of all denominations throughout the English-speaking 
world : and none more deserve their popularity. No one 
would call them great poetry : but they have the simple 
yet dignified eloquence that belongs to the best popular 

Ken's famous hymns, written by an Anglican for 
Anglicans, have always been not less favoured by Non- 
conformists. In the case of two writers who were his con- 
temporaries the borrowing is the other way. No hymn has 
more quickly achieved popularity in our generation than 
the 'Pilgrim's Song' of the great-hearted Baptist tinker 
John Bunyan (1628-88), taken from the concluding 
portion of the second part of the Pilgrim's Progress. It is 
best known in the form in which it appears in E.H., which 
first gave it currency : 'He who would valiant be' f402 
(also 515). But this version departs considerably from 
Bunyan's own, which is given in A.M., 'Who would true 
valour see ? ' *676. Whether the changes were either 
necessary or an improvement is a matter on which each 
man must form his own opinion. The rapid popularity 
won by the hymn is of course not a little due to the singu- 
larly happy folk-tune that has come to be usually associ- 
ated with it a discovery of Vaughan Williams. 263 In 
A.M. Bunyan's hymn is set to a tune to the words 'Re- 
member, O thou man' from Ravenscroft's Melismata, 
which may have been in Bunyan's mind when he wrote 
the hymn and have suggested its metre. S.P. contains also 
a second hymn by Bunyan the song sung by the shep- 
herd boy "in very mean Cloaths but of a very fresh and 
well-favoured Countenance" in the same part of the 
Pilgrim's Progress, 'He that is down needs fear no fall' 513. 
Another Nonconformist writer of the Restoration period 



who has helped to enrich our Anglican hymnals is Richard 
Baxter (1615-91), the saintly author of the once famous 
work of piety, The Saints' Everlasting Rest. Formerly chap- 
lain to one of Cromwell's regiments, he became at the 
Restoration Chaplain to Charles II and refused the see of 
Hereford. But on the passing of the Acl of Uniformity he 
left the Church of England and became a Nonconformist 
Minister. His hymns include : 'Lord, it belongs not to my 
care' *535 1433 ^105, 'He wants not friends that hath 
Thy love' |40i 514 and 'Christ who knows all His sheep' 
288. His most famous hymn, however, 'Ye holy angels 
bright' *546 1517 +701, is only partly his. It was re- 
written by J. Hampden Gurney in his Church Psalmody 
(1838), and the two last verses seem to be by him. 254 Its 
fine tune, "DarwalPs i48th", is one of the 150 tunes com- 
posed by the Rev. H. Darwall for the complete metrical 
psalter, and was first published in 1770. 

One more hymn-writer of the Restoration deserves to 
be mentioned, not only because of what he wrote but even 
more because he seems to have been one of the first 
Anglican clergymen to favour the practice of hymn-singing 
in Church, as distinct from the use of metrical psalms. 
This is John Mason (c. 1645-94), 266 the son of a Non- 
conformist minister, who became Vicar of Stantonbury, 
Bucks, in 1668, and later Redor of Water Stratford in the 
same county. He was described as "a light in the pulpit 
and a pattern out of it". His Spiritual Songs, or Songs of 
Praise to Almighty God were first published in 1683. The 
noble hymn, 'How shall I sing that majesty' 1404 $526, is 
by him. S.P. also includes a second : 'Thou wast, O GOD, 
and Thou wast blest' 675. Another of his hymns appears 
to supply the basis of Keble's, 'A living stream of crystal 
clear' *2i3. 

Our account of the sacred poets of the Restoration 
period makes it clear that the debt of our modern hymnals 
to them is considerable : nor should we omit to mention 



in addition the four fine hymns first published in the 
Spectator a generation later (1712) by the poet and essayist 
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) : 'When all Thy mercies, 
O my GOD' *5i7 fsii 694, 'The spacious firmament 
on high' *662 J2Q7 +659, 'How are Thy servants blest, 
O Lord' J542 $522, and the beautiful "classically- 
embroidered" version of ps. 23, 'The Lord my pasture 
shall prepare' J4gi 656. But it must be repeated that 
nearly all these hymns, at the time when they were 
produced, were neither intended nor employed for use in 
public worship. The official provision of "hymns" proper, 
as apart from metrical psalms, was still confined to the 
meagre contents of the appendices of the Old and (when 
it arrived) the New Versions. The first Supplement to the 
latter, issued in 1700, contained, in addition to versions of 
the Canticles, Commandments, etc., and the Veni Creator, 
six hymns, one for Christmas, two for Easter and three 
for Holy Communion. The Christmas hymn is the favour- 
ite 'While shepherds watched' *62 J30 82 a versifi- 
cation of St. Luke ii. 8-14. To these the 6th edition 
(1708) added three more, including a revised text of 
Marckant's "Lamentation." A rather richer hymnody 
was included in Henry Playford's The Divine Companion, 
issued in 1701, which contained 12 hymns taken from 
Crashaw, George Herbert, Austin and William Drum- 
mond. These 12 were increased to 17 in the second 
edition of 1 709, along with 4 hymns for Christmas Day, 
Good Friday, Easter Day and Whitsunday. But the day of 
hymn-singing in Church on a large scale was still far off. 
In this department of religious life it was not the Church 
of England but the bodies separated from her that were 
to be the effective pioneers. 


"The English Independents, as represented by Dr. 
Watts," wrote Lord Selborne nearly 60 years ago, "have 



a just claim to be considered the real founders of modern 
English hymnody. Watts was the first to understand the 
nature of the want ; and ... he led the way in providing 
for it." 256 This statement needs a certain amount of 
qualification in the light of fuller knowledge. We have 
already mentioned Barton and Mason, both of whom 
were clergymen of the Established Church, though the 
use of their hymns was practically confined to the Non- 
conformists. Among the Baptists, too, a sedional move- 
ment in favour of hymn-singing began about 1675, associ- 
ated with the name of Benjamin Keach, who, in a pamph- 
let published in 1691, undertook the defence of a practice 
which for a time seriously divided the Baptist body. A 
similar practice arose about the same time among the 
Independents (the ancestors of the Gongregationalists of 
to-day), whose earliest hymn-colledions date from the 
last decade of the seventeenth century. But these early 
efforts only have significance for us in that they helped to 
prepare the way for the success of Watts's "System of 
Praise". 257 For him it was reserved to overthrow the 
tyranny of Psalmody by the practical and obvious method 
of putting something better in its place "a Hymnody", 
to quote Dr. Louis Benson, "that satisfied the religious 
sentiment more completely, and yet retained a sufficiency 
of the familiar form and tone of the accustomed 
psalm". 258 It is indeed hardly an exaggeration to com- 
pare Watts with St. Ambrose. Like his illustrious proto- 
type, he at the same time secured the triumph of Hymnody, 
made important and imperishable contributions to it and 
permanently influenced the form which it was to assume 
in the generations that followed. 

It is easy to poke fun at Watts : and he is in fad rather a 
favourite target for our contemporary sense of humour. 
But we shall resist the temptation to enliven our pages by 
quoting his more absurd and repellent lines, which are 
specially abundant, unfortunately, in his Hymns for Little 

1 66 


Children. A man's genius is assessed not by his worst work 
but by his best. Watts shared the weaknesses of his time 
not only in its theology, with its over-insistence on the 
motive of self-regarding fear, but even more in its taste for 
an artificial and bombastic literary style. What is not 
sufficiently recognized is how often in both respeds he 
rose above it. One of his main objections to the exclusive 
use of metrical psalms is precisely that, representing as 
they do the produds of a pre-Christian era, they cannot 
voice the Christian spirit. Concerning them he declares 
roundly in an Essay printed in the 1 707 volume of his 


Some of 'em are almost opposite to the Spirit of the Gospel : 
Many of them foreign to the State of the New-Testament, 
and widely different from the present Circumstances of Chris- 
tians. . . . Thus by keeping too close to David in the House of 
GOD, the vail of Moses is thrown over our Hearts. 259 

The hymns of Christians should freely express their own 
spiritual experience, not "the thoughts of David or 
Asaph". Thus the tyranny of the Genevan principle of 
"The Bible and the Bible only" was swept away. Again, in 
the matter of literary style Watts was capable of an admir- 
able simplicity of expression when his purpose was to 
edify the simple (always in reality his chief preoccupation) 
rather than to charm the polite. "It will be found," it has 
been acutely remarked, "that just in those pieces where 
he is conscious of a refined audience on one side and the 
unlettered congregation on the other, Watts' s best work 
appears." 26 In his hymns he adheres for the most part 
to the old metres that had been consecrated by the psalm- 
versions, while often protesting against the "fetter" of 
them. But at his best he wielded them with an altogether 
new grace and dignity : and his hymns have a compact and 
balanced structure which those of his predecessors lacked 
and which was to be deliberately aimed at as a prime 
requisite of good hymn-writing by his successors. 
M 167 


In view of Watts's pre-eminent position in English 
hymnody it is desirable to give here a brief account of his 
life. 261 He was born in 1674, the son of a Nonconformist 
schoolmaster who had twice suffered imprisonment for his 
religious convictions. Being a brilliantly clever boy, he 
was offered the chance of education at one of the Universi- 
ties with a view to ordination to the Anglican ministry. 
But he preferred to enter one of the rising Nonconformist 
Academies situated at Stoke Newington. On leaving this 
at the age of twenty he spent two years at home : and it 
was then that he wrote many of the pieces contained in his 
first collection of hymns, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, though 
this was not published till 1707, with a second and en- 
larged edition in 1709. It is necessary to lay stress on this : 
for the name "Dr. Watts" suggests to most of us a vener- 
able and rather grim divine, not a young enthusiast 
with giants of conventional routine and prejudice to fight. 
Dr. Dearmer well speaks of his "magnificent youthful 
aggression". 262 The next six years he spent in tutoring the 
son of a Nonconformist knight and in studying with an 
ardour for which he was to pay heavily in the sequel. In 
1702 he was ordained pastor of the important Indepen- 
dent congregation in Mark Lane : but at the end of a year 
his health failed and an assistant pastor had to be pro- 
vided, who after another severe illness of Watts in 1712 
was appointed co-pastor. For the rest of his life Watts was 
the guest of Sir Thomas Abney and later of his widow. 
He received the degree of D.D. from the University of 
Edinburgh in 1728. Twenty years later his suffering life 
came to an end. 

Watts's hymns number about 600 in all. Besides the 
collection already mentioned he published Home Lyricae 
(1706-9), in which hymns were mingled among the 
poems ; Divine and Moral Songs for the Use of Children (1715) ; 
and The Psalms of David (1719) the last containing not 
translations of the psalms in the strict sense, but rather 

1 68 


poems based upon them. From this collection is taken 
Watts's finest and most famous hymn, 'O GOD, our help 
in ages past' *i65 f450 +598 based on ps. xc. Watts's 
own version began 'Our GOD . . . ' : but this was altered by 
John Wesley in his collection of 1737 to its present form. 
In the current version the original 9 stanzas are reduced 
to 6. The story is told that Jowett once asked a number of 
Oxford dons to jot down a small list of the best hymns. 
All returned with only one hymn, 'O GOD, our help', 
which each regarded as fulfilling all the requisites of a per- 
fect hymn. 263 Of it Mr. F. J. Gillman has said with truth 
that it "has become the great ceremonial hymn of the 
English nation, and if nothing else had come from 
his pen it justifies its author's memorial in Westminster 

Another of Watts's hymns is only less celebrated, and 
breathes a spiritual ardour that 'O GOD, our help' neces- 
sarily lacks the splendid Passion hymn, first of all 
English hymns on that subject, 'When I survey the won- 
drous Cross' *io8 1 107 133, which originally appeared 
in the 1707 collection. To these masterpieces may be 
added several more hymns in well-nigh universal use 
which give further proof of the extent to which the genius 
of Watts has enriched the hymnody of the English-speaking 
race : 'How bright those glorious spirits shine' *438 
f 199 207, 'Give me the wings of faith to rise' *6a3 f 197 
204, 'Gome, let us join our cheerful songs' *2gg t37^ 
472, 'Jesus shall reign where'er the sun' *220 f420 +545, 
'This is the day the Lord hath made' *478 23 and 'There 
is a land of pure delight' *536 ^498 201. Tradition says 
that the last-named came upon him one summer day, 
while he was gazing across Southampton Water ; and the 
pleasant meadows near Netley are said to have suggested 
the phrase, "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood". 265 
Other hymns that are less well known are 'Awake, our 
souls ! away, our fears' *682 451 and 'Christ hath a garden 



walled around' 245. Robert Bridges's fine hymn, 'My 
Lord, my Life, my Love' 1442 +584, is based on an 
original by Watts. 

Of those who followed in the trail blazed by Watts the 
most important name is that of one of his friends, another 
eminent Nonconformist divine, Dr. Philip Doddridge 
(1702-51). Like Watts he was offered the chance of being 
educated for ordination in the Church of England, but 
preferred to become a Nonconformist minister. He held 
various charges in the Midlands and died of consumption 
at Lisbon at the age of 49. His hymns were published by 
his friend Job Ortpn in 1755 after his death. The best 
known are the following : 'Hark, the glad sound' *47 |6 
62, 'Ye servants of the Lord' *s68 1518^702, 'My GOD, 
and is Thy table spread' *3i7 1320 and 'O GOD of 
Bethel 5 1447 +596. The last was published by Orton with 
the variant first line adopted in A.M., 'O GOD of Jacob' 
*5i2. The current form of it is a drastic recast by a 
Scotsman called Logan (1781). It became immensely 
popular in Scotland, where "it holds a place in the 
affeclion of all Scotsmen second only to 'The Lord's my 
Shepherd'". 266 Of hymns for national occasions it and 
'O GOD, our help' easily stand first. 




IN a letter written to a correspondent at Truro in 
1757 John Wesley made a comparison between the 
worship of the Established Church and that of the 
young Methodist societies, very much to the advantage of 
the latter. Having commented on the superior reverence 
in their case of both congregation and officiant he went on 
as follows : 

Nor are their solemn addresses to GOD interrupted either by 
the formal drawl of a parish clerk, the screaming of boys who 
bawl out what they neither feel or understand, or the un- 
reasonable and unmeaning impertinence of a voluntary on the 
organ. When it is seasonable to sing praise to GOD they do it 
with the spirit and with the understanding also ; not in the 
miserable, scandalous doggerel of Hopkins and Sternhold, but 
in psalms and hymns which are both sense and poetry, such as 
would sooner dispose a critic to turn Christian than a Christian 
to turn critic. What they sing is therefore a proper continua- 
tion of the spiritual and reasonable service ; being seleded for 
that end, not by a poor humdrum wretch who can scarce read 
what he drones out with such an air of importance, but by one 
who knows what he is about and how to connect the preceding 
with the following part of the service. Nor does he take just 
"two staves", but more or less, as may best raise the soul to 
GOD ; especially when sung in well-composed and well- 
adapted tunes, not by an handful of unawakened striplings, 
but by a whole serious congregation ; and these not lolling at 
ease, or in the indecent posture of sitting, drawling out one 
word after another, but all standing before GOD and praising 
Him lustily and with a good courage. 267 

The animus in all this can hardly be disputed : Wesley 
is certainly making the worst of what he criticizes. Yet it is 



a simple historical fad that an enormous part of the 
attraction of the movement that he created and led con- 
sisted in the warmer and more enthusiastic conception of 
worship for which it stood, and especially in the free, 
heartfelt participation of the whole congregation in that 
worship by means of a new, intimately personal type of 
hymnody. In the days when the old metrical psalmody 
was new, it, too, had been an intensely popular and 
personal thing indeed these psalms had been the war- 
songs of the rebel army in its fight against Rome. But, like 
the Office Hymns of an earlier day, they had in course of 
time lost their power to stir men's hearts and had become 
for most people nothing but a humdrum part of the litur- 
gical routine. As against their monopoly Watts had suc- 
cessfully vindicated the claim of hymns to be a part of 
congregational worship. But his success had been won 
outside the National Church : and even so the movement . 
inaugurated by him was "purely liturgical, a sober and 
deliberate undertaking for the 'Renovation of psalmody' 
in the ordinary worship of the Church". 268 The revivalist 
methods of Wesley and his associates called for some- 
thing different. What was wanted was a hymnody that 
would refled the new kind of preaching initiated by them 
a preaching that meant, not the reading from the pulpit 
of an elaborately phrased and long-winded dissertation on 
morality or attentuated dodrine, but a bold impromptu 
appeal to each man's heart and conscience couched in 
popular language. The feelings aroused by the preacher 
must be given an outlet on the lips of his hearers in accord- 
ance with the principle that modern educationalists sum 
up in the phrase, "Expression must follow impression". 
When men's hearts are full their emotions clamour for 
utterance in speech and song : and it was to their recog- 
nition of this simple psychological fad that a great part 
of the success of the pioneers of Methodism was due. 
The need of a new type of hymnody framed on such 



lines would no doubt have led in any case to attempts to 
supply it. But by a superb stroke of good fortune the prime 
leaders of the movement themselves were able and ready 
to show the way. A comparison has often been made be- 
tween John Wesley and General Booth : but while both 
were great preachers and great organizers, Wesley, unlike 
Booth, was a sacred poet as well. And his brother and 
constant associate, Charles Wesley, ranks with Isaac 
Watts as one of the two greatest names in English 
hymnody. A taste for writing religious poetry seems indeed 
to have been a hereditary trait in the Wesley family. The 
father of John and Charles, Samuel Wesley, Reclor of 
Epworth, Lines., wrote a number of poems, including a 
Heroic Poem on the life of our Lord that was much admired 
in its day. His eldest son, Samuel Wesley the younger, 
wrote along with other religious verses a number of hymns 
that still survive in Wesleyan hynln-books : one of them 
appears, too, in AM. *5io. His daughter Mehetabel (the 
"Hetty Wesley" of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's novel) was 
a poetess of talent, though she wrote no hymns. It is, how- 
ever, upon the achievement of the second and the 
youngest sons of the elder Samuel, John and Charles, that 
the fame of the family rests, in hymnody as in other 
directions. 269 

From start to finish the two brothers were united by the 
closest bond of affection and also by a profound com- 
munity of ideas, aims and work ; even though towards the 
end of his life Charles, always a staunch Church of 
England man, viewed with grave misgivings his brother's 
tendency to encourage the schismatic tendencies which, 
after the death of both, were to cut Methodism away alto- 
gether from the Church that had given it birth. John was 
born in 1703, Charles in 1707 ; the former being educated 
at Charterhouse, the latter at Westminster. John went up 
to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1720, and six years after was 
elected Fellow of Lincoln. In the same year, 172 6, Charles, 



too, went to Christ Church, where he later became a 
Tutor. At Oxford (whither John returned in 1729 after 
serving for a time as his father's curate at Epworth) the 
two brothers became the leading figures in a small group 
of devout members of the University nicknamed "Method- 
ists" on account of their strictly disciplined life and zeal 
in observing the fast days and frequenting the sacraments 
of the Church. Other opprobrious names for them were 
"Sacramentarians", "Bible-bigots" and "The Holy 
Club". To the same group belonged James Hervey, 
author of the once celebrated Meditations among the Tombs, 
and another figure hardly less significant than the 
Wesleys themselves, George Whitefield, destined to be 
closely associated with them in the earliest phase of 
Methodism. Whitefield, the son of an innkeeper at 
Gloucester, went up to Oxford in 1732 as servitor of Pem- 
broke : he was thus the junior of the Wesleys in age and 

In 1735 John Wesley received an invitation to evangel- 
ize the settlers and the Indians in the newly planted 
American colony of Georgia. After some hesitation he 
accepted, and Charles decided to accompany him. On 
their voyage out they were much impressed by the piety 
of some German Moravians who were their fellow- 
passengers. One result of this contact was to confirm the 
brothers in an already pronounced taste for the singing of 
hymns. On arriving in America they introduced the prac- 
tice to the congregations to which they ministered, not 
without exciting opposition: and in 1737 John Wesley, 
described as "Missioner of Georgia", published at Charles- 
town a Collection of Psalms and Hymns. This book, like the 
Divine Companion, included in its 70 items adaptations 
from Herbert, Austin and Addison ; half of its contents 
were by Watts ; while the remainder consisted of 5 hymns 
by each of the two Samuel Wesleys (Charles was not a 
contributor) and 5 translations from the German by John 



Wesley himself, who had recently been a diligent student 
of German pietistic hymnody. Much of the book was re- 
produced in a volume with the same title which John 
published on his return to England in 1738. 

This return was accompanied by a deep discouragement 
at the scant success of his labours, which he was inclined 
to attribute to the facl that he himself was not yet con- 
verted. He consorted closely once more with the Mora- 
vians and their leader, Peter Bohler. On May 24, 1738, he 
went to a meeting in Aldersgate Street, at which someone 
was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. 
His Journal narrates the experience which followed : 

About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the 
change which GOD works in the heart through faith in Christ, 
I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, 
Christ alone for salvation ; and an assurance was given me that 
He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from 
the law of sin and death. 270 

Henceforth, he believed, his conversion was an accom- 
plished facl : and for him this could only mean the call to 
a lifelong task of helping others to share the blessings of 
which he himself was so richly conscious. The following 
month he paid a visit to the headquarters of the Moravians 
at Herrnhut, where he met their patron, Count Zinzen- 
dorf, and had further opportunity of becoming acquainted 
with their hymnody. On Aug. i, he records, 

About eight we went to the public service, at which they 
frequently use other instruments with their organ. They began 
(as usual) with singing. Then followed the expounding, closed 
by a second hymn. Prayer followed this ; and then a few 
verses of a third hymn, which concluded the service. 271 

The effecl: of this was still further to increase his en- 
thusiasm for hymn-singing of the emotional type affecled 
by the Moravians. 

Returning to England in September, "I began again," 
he says, "to declare in my own country the glad tidings of 



salvation". 272 His brother, who had himself experienced 
conversion a short while before, associated himself with 
his labours. Soon, following the example already set by 
Whitefield, John began that practice of "field-preaching" 
which he was to pursue with such enormous success for 
the rest of his long life, travelling immense distances over 
the length and breadth of England, His converts were 
organized into bands or societies on the model of the 
Moravians : and, after Wesley had parted company with 
the latter on account of the alleged Antinomian tendencies 
that they had developed, he formed his own societies into 
a separate organization, with its headquarters at a disused 
foundry in Moorfields, which he converted into the first 
Methodist meeting-house in London (1739). 

With the further development of Methodism we need 
not concern ourselves here apart from its bearing on 
English hymnody. "The English Hymn," (to quote Dr. 
Louis Benson's apt remark), "that had found so capable a 
tutor as Watts, had been waiting for so devoted a 
lover as Wesley." 273 To the practice of hymn-singing 
John Wesley, like Luther, attached the utmost import- 
ance, not only for its value in exciting and voicing religious 
emotion but also as a means of instruction and edification. 
The Methodist hymns were to be "a body of experimental 
and practical divinity". In his preface to the Wesley an 
Hymn-book of 1780 Wesley asks : 

In what other publication have you so distinct and full an 
account of Scriptural Christianity : such a declaration of the 
heights and depths of religion, speculative and practical : so 
strong cautions against the most plausible errors, particularly 
those now most prevalent : and so clear directions for making 
your calling .and eledion sure; for perfecting holiness in. the 
fear of GOD ? 

He himself was continually active in providing what 
was needed. It is a mistake to separate off the two brothers 
into John the preacher and Charles the hymn-writer. 



Both were preachers, both were hymn-writers ; though the 
one was more gifted in the first direction, the other in the 
second. And, despite his inferior poetic endowment, it was 
John, not Charles, who took the lead in hymnody, as in 
everything else. His was the brain that planned the 
Methodist hymnody, gave it its shape, made provision for 
and encouraged its use and recalled it to more sober paths 
when it degenerated into extravagance. In the hymnal 
publications which bear the name of the two brothers it 
is impossible to say which of them was the author of a 
particular hymn. The common view assigns to John all 
those hymns that are translated from the German (a 
language unknown to Charles) and to Charles all the 
original hymns. But a conviction is growing that John's 
share in the latter was considerably greater than has been 
commonly supposed. 274 

The first collection of hymns published jointly by the 
brothers appeared in 1739 with the title Hymns and Sacred 
Poems. Published by John and Charles Wesley. This contained 
the earliest versions of the two hymns which, having under- 
gone not a few alterations, have emerged as 'Hark ! the 
herald angels sing' *6o f24 74 (originally 'Hark, how all 
the welkin rings') and 'Hail the day that sees Him rise' 
*I47 fi43 1 1 72. An entirely new book with the same 
title was issued in 1740; its contents including, 'Jesu, 
Lover of my soul' *ig3 1414 1542, 'O for a thousand 
tongues to sing' *522 t44 +595 an d 'Christ, Whose glory 
fills the skies' *7 1258 26. Next year came a Collection of 
Psalms and Hymns, and in 1742 still another volume of 
Hymns and Sacred Poems. In the latter year, too, appeared 
the first Methodist tune-book with the title A Collection of 
Tunes Set to music as they are commonly sung at the Foundery. 
This contained over 40 tunes intended to supplement the 
psalm-tunes already in use. From this "Foundery Collec- 
tion" comes the well-known tune 'Savannah' (or 'Herrn- 
hut') fi35 160. Another book with tunes followed in 



1746 entitled Hymns on the Great Festivals and Other Occasions, 
and containing 24 hymns written by Charles Wesley, 
along with the same number of tunes by a German 
bassoon-player called Lampe, a friend of a convert of 
John's. (The tune 'Devonshire' *682='Kent 5 +524, is 
from this book : its solid simplicity is in wholesome con- 
trast to Lampe's usually over-florid style, of which 'Dying 
Stephen' *6y4 is a mild specimen.) This collection was in 
turn followed in 1753 by a volume issued by Thomas 
Butts, a friend of the Wesleys, and called Harmonia Sacra, 
containing, together with the tunes, words written by the 
Wesleys and others. 

Meanwhile various new collections of words had made 
their appearance, of which one, Hymns on the Lord's Supper, 
issued in 1 745, deserves special mention, alike on literary 
grounds and for its careful and profound theology. From 
this come the 7 Eucharistic hymns in AM. : 'Author of 
life divine' *3iQ f303 +263, 'O Thou, before the world 
began' *554, 'Victim Divine' *556 J333, 'Saviour, and can 
it be' *7i8, 'With solemn faith we offer up' *72O, 'How 
glorious is the life above' *723 and the exultant 'Hosanna 
in the highest' *724 ; the last of which, in particular, as set 
to Dr. S. H. Nicholson's fine tune, deserves to be far better 
known than it is. A collection of 1 744 contains 'Rejoice ! 
The Lord is King' *202 f4?6 +632, for which Handel 
wrote his grand tune 'GopsaP : and another of 1 747 the 
beautiful 'Love Divine, all loves excelling' *520 1437 
573, not less worthily set by Stanford in our own day. 
On his marriage in 1 749 Charles Wesley raised the money 
required for furnishing his house by issuing his unpub- 
lished compositions in two volumes and selling them by 
subscription through the Methodist preachers. It is grati- 
fying to add that the proceeds were fully adequate for the 
purpose in view. 

A further collection of 1758 contained the Advent 
hymn, 'Lo ! He comes with clouds descending' *5i f 7 



. The history of this hymn is almost as complicated as 
its fame is great. 276 The genesis of it is due to one of 
Wesley's early associates, John Cennick (see below, p. 185), 
who published in 1752 a hymn beginning : 

Lo ! He cometh, countless trumpets 
Blow before His bloody sign. . . . 

It won the notice of Charles Wesley, who appears to have 
been at the same time attracted by its ideas and form and 
repelled by Gennick's rather revolting manipulation of 
them. He therefore remodelled it, reducing the original 
6 stanzas to 4. In 1760 Martin Madan (of whom later) 
combined these 4 stanzas with 2 of Cennick's to produce 
a cento which has been in wide use in English-speaking 
countries. The form of the hymn, however, as given in 
A.M., E.H. and S.P. omits the Cennick verses and repro- 
duces Wesley's version in a slightly altered form. The 
famous tune, 'Helmsley', which has become inextricably 
associated with it, is attributed to the early Wesleyan 
preacher, Thomas Olivers, who apparently adapted it 
from a song by the Irish composer, Charles Thomas 
Carter, 'Gracious angels, now protect me', which enjoyed 
great vogue at the period. 276 

The collection of 1758 was followed in 1759 by three 
more, including a set of Funeral Hymns, one of which, 
'Come let us join our friends above', is the source from 
which after many cuts and changes is derived 'Let saints 
on earth in concert sing' *22i t4 2 ^ +557* By this time the 
total number of hymns sponsored by the Wesleys had 
reached such proportions that it was felt that the time 
was come to submit them to a process of selection. 
Further, John Wesley was not wholly satisfied with the 
tunes in use, erring as they did more and more on the 
florid side as time went on, and desired to have a collection 
of them authorized by himself. In 1761, therefore, he pub- 
lished a volume of Select Hymns for the use of Christians of all 



Denominations, for which was provided a selection of Tunes 
Annext. With these appeared Wesley's "Directions for 
Singing", containing seven rules, which are as follows : 

Learn these tunes before any others ; sing them exactly as 
printed ; sing all of them ; sing lustily ; sing modestly ; sing in 
tune ; above all sing spiritually, with an eye to GOD in every 

Several editions of this book were issued at intervals. 
Concerning them Dr. Frere remarks : "In these volumes 
it is possible to trace the development of Methodist 
hymn-singing as the Wesleys wished it to be. About one- 
third of the tunes and compositions in Butts's Harmonia 
Sacra find no place here : on the whole it is the more solid 
and congregational melodies that are included. Wesley, 
as a musician and revivalist, seems to have used his in- 
fluence to exclude the worst of the bad specimens of 
hymnody which were everywhere in growing favour. But 
even so some of the things that remain are surprising." 277 
Meanwhile Charles Wesley's torrential spate of sacred 
song continued unabated. In 1762 he published two 
volumes of Short Hymns on SeMed Passages of Holy Scripture, 
containing the staggering total of 2030 new compositions ! 
Hymns for Children appeared in 1763, including 'Gentle 
Jesus, meek and mild' fsgi 356 : and a number of other 
collections were still to come. It was only in the last years 
of his long life that the source began to dry up. He died in 
1788 with the words on his lips : "I have lived, and I die, 
in the Communion of the Church of England." A fort- 
night after his death John Wesley gave out before preach- 
ing his brother's hymn, 'Come, O Thou Traveller un- 
known' *774 f378 +476, first published in the 1742 collec- 
tion and deemed by many the finest thing he ever wrote, 
though its almost agonized note of spiritual passion makes 
it unsuitable for common use. When he reached the 
words, "My company before is gone, And I am left alone 
with Thee," the old man burst into tears and covered his 



face with his hands, while the congregation wept too. 278 
Less than three years later (on March 2, 1792) he himself 
passed to fresh fields of service (the word 'rest' is unthink- 
able in connection with John Wesley), at the great age of 
87. Like many other great men (and even great saints) he 
was not always easy to get on with. But in spiritual ardour 
and zeal for souls he has had few equals in the Christian 
centuries : and it is hardly possible to exaggerate the work 
he did for the toiling and neglected masses of his time in 
an age when the so-called National Church had largely 
gone to sleep. Indeed, it has been maintained that he 
more than any other individual man saved England from 
sharing the horrors and excesses of the French Revolu- 
tion, by turning the aspirations of the common people to 
spiritual rather than temporal satisfactions. Nor, one may 
believe, would he have been unwilling to admit that the 
sweet serenity of his beloved inseparable Charles displayed 
an aspect of Christian holiness which his own fiery auto- 
cratic nature was unable to achieve. 

Concerning the hymns written by the Wesleys it is no 
exaggeration to say that for a long time they occupied the 
whole field of Methodist hymnody to the virtual exclusion 
of anything else. Of their Methodist contemporaries only 
two made any mark Thomas Olivers (1725-99) and 
John Bakewell ; while in the generation following there 
were practically no Methodist hymn-writers at all. It was 
Olivers who wrote the stately hymn 'The GOD of Abraham 
praise' *6oi 1646 $398, based on the Hebrew 'Yigdal'. 
The tune, a "synagogue melody" supplied to the poet 
by the Jewish singer Leoni (Lyons), has a suspicious like- 
ness to a song 'Why, soldiers, why' sung at the Haymarket 
Theatre in I729- 279 

The indisputable contributions of John Wesley to our 
Anglican hymn-books are not many: but they well 
deserve their place. All are translations from the German, 
and have been already spoken of in an earlier chapter in 



connexion with their originals. Two are taken from 
Gerald Tersteegen, 'Lo ! GOD is here' *526 1637 +191, 
and Thou hidden love of GOD' *6oo 671 ; one (the best 
of all) from Paul Gerhardt, Tut thou thy trust in GOD' 
*6g2 (S.P. supplies an alternative cento, 'Commit thou 
all thy griefs' $479) . The Communion hymn, 'Author of 
life divine' *3ig 1303 $263, is sometimes attributed to 
John: but in the collection of 1745 in which it first 
appeared the authorship is not stated and it is more likely 
to be his brother's. 

The contribution of Charles is much more extensive : 
and it is one of the chief merits of A.M. that it gives him 
such copious and admirable representation. The great 
bulk of his hymns have of course sunk beneath the stream 
of time beyond possibility of rescue. It is estimated that 
his compositions totalled 6500 in all an appalling 
thought. Obviously he could hardly have spent much 
time in polishing them up nor would he himself have 
thought it necessary or even desirable to do so, for they 
were written to serve the turn of an aftive and incessant 
evangelism and also to relieve his own glowing heart. 
Many were probably written in order to drive home a 
particular sermon. But, as Dr. Dearmer has justly ob- 
served, "his masterpieces would have been more if he had 
had more of the craftsman's conscience": 280 and even 
those of his hymns that have won a perennial fame have 
often needed a good deal of emendation before they could 
fully deserve it. He himself deprecated any tampering 
with his work. In the preface to the 1 780 Collection he gives 
leave to all to print his hymns "provided they print them 
as they are. But I desire they would not attempt to mend 
them, for they really are not able". 281 His editors, how- 
ever, have judged otherwise : and no doubt they are right. 
But his incredible abundance has at least had the advan- 
tage of providing a wider range of selection for time and 
taste to ply their winnowing-fan upon. After all, with 



Wesley as with Watts (and with far greater poets than 
either for that matter) it signifies little to posterity how 
much chaff they produced so long as the good grain is 
there. And who shall deny that the man who wrote the 
hymns of which mention has been made in this chapter 
was anything less than one of the greatest hymn- writers of 
all time ? Some have even called him the greatest of all. 
Of many of his hymns the ardent personal emotion is not 
for all tastes, nor perhaps in any case for all congregations 
or all occasions. In the ears of an undogmatic age their 
unashamed accent of evangelical Christianity may even 
sound tiresome and out-of-date. Yet none the less the 
religion they express has the authentic note of the Gospels 
and Epistles of the New Testament in which their author 
was saturated : and if ever the glow of the early Methodism 
comes back to the English-speaking world, men will find 
no hymns more fitted to express it than the best of what 
Charles Wesley has bequeathed to them. 


We have seen how at the very outset of his evangelistic 
career Wesley felt compelled to sever himself from his 
spiritual parents, the Moravians. Not long after (c. 1740) 
the abysmal issue of Predestination and Freewill clove a 
gulf between him and his most gifted co-operator White- 
field. Wesley declared for the Arminian view of the opera- 
tion of Divine grace, Whitefield for the Calvinist. The 
personal difference was soon healed : but henceforth the 
ways of the two friends lay apart. As a preacher White- 
field was perhaps even more remarkable than Wesley : but 
he possessed none of the latter's gifts of leadership and 
organizing power. However, his association with that 
masterful exemplar of high-born feminine piety, Selina, 
Countess of Huntingdon, helped considerably to make up 
for his own deficiency in these respects. He himself made 
no attempt to found a new denomination : and the 

N 183 


societies that he formed did not last long. The Countess's 
work was to be more enduring. Her original intention was 
not to break with the Church of England but to uplift it. 
With this object she built proprietary chapels and 
appointed clergymen as her chaplains to officiate in them. 
But opposition to the opening of a new chapel in Spa 
Fields in 1779 compelled her to register her chapels as 
dissenting conventicles : and a new denomination thus 
came into existence called "The Countess of Huntingdon's 
Connexion". Meanwhile Wesley steadily pursued his own 
path, which in spite of his repeated professions of devotion 
to the Church of England led him further and further 
away from her. Yet even the torpid National Church 
could not remain wholly unaffected by the religious 
impetus that he had set in motion, however much its 
prelates might frown upon "enthusiasm" and many of 
the parochial clergy resent the incursions of Wesley and 
his preachers upon their preserves. The Evangelical move- 
ment in the Church of England was just as much Wesley's 
child as the Methodism that bears his name ; even though 
on the doctrinal side it preferred the Calvinism of White- 
field and Lady Huntingdon to the Arminianism of Wesley 

Each of these movements, Moravian, Huntingdonian 
and Evangelical, was to develop its own hymnody. Out- 
side the charmed circle of Methodism itself the character- 
istic hymnody of the Wesleys had little popularity or 
currency for a long time. Its unusual metres, its theology, 
its emotionalism and spiritual elevation, were alike un- 
congenial. The great name was still Dr. Watts, who (as 
Dr. Benson says) "embodied the theology of his surround- 
ings, and kept well within the average range of spiritual 
experience". 282 

i. The one exception to this sober preference was fur- 
nished by the Moravians. Their hymnody was not less 
emotional than the Methodist, but more so. In facl its 



extravagant and often repulsive imagery so shocked John 
Wesley that he repudiated it and even held it up to public 
obloquy. The earlier Moravian hymns were for the most 
part translated from those of the German Pietistic school : 
and their bizarre foreignness was increased by the clumsi- 
ness and illiteracy of the versions. Later on, however, the 
Moravian hymnody sobered down, and its produces were 
drastically pruned and remodelled. 283 Of English hymn- 
writers two belonged to the Moravian persuasion : John 
Cennick (1718-55) and James Montgomery (1771-1854). 
The former, however, was but slightly represented in the 
first Moravian books : and his earlier hymns were written 
in the days of his association with Wesley and (after 1740) 
with Whitefield, before he finally joined the Moravians in 
1745. Of his hymns only one is well known, 'Children of 
the heavenly King' *547 1373 1463. His part in the evolu- 
tion of 'Lo ! He comes' has already been spoken of. 
Montgomery belongs to a considerably later period : and 
his catholic connections, and particularly his association 
with the Evangelical Cotterill (concerning which more 
will be said later), give him a far more than sectarian sig- 
nificance. The son of a Moravian minister, he became a 
journalist, and in 1796 editor of the Sheffield Reporter. Twice 
in the next two years he suffered imprisonment for his 
advanced Liberal opinions : but he lived to receive a 
royal pension in 1833. A list of his best-known hymns will 
suffice to indicate the debt of posterity to his poetic gift : 
'Hail to the Lord's Anointed' *2ig J45 87, 'For ever 
with the Lord' *23i tsgi 195, 'Angels, from the realms 
of glory' *482 $71, 'Stand up and bless the Lord' *7o6, 
'Songs of praise the angels sang' *2g7 f48i 644, 'Palms 
of glory' *445 t 20I > an ^ the two fine missionary hymns 
(Montgomery was an enthusiast for foreign missions), 'O 
Spirit of the living GOD' *585 and 'Lift up your heads, ye 
gates of brass' *586 1549. 

ii. In the evolution of the hymnody of the Countess of 



Huntingdon's Connexion the "noble and elect lady" (as 
her votaries styled her) played the leading part, as we 
might expect. She is even said by tradition to have been a 
hymn- writer herself: but there is no satisfactory evidence 
of this. After various experiments a definitive hymn-book 
for the use of the whole Connexion was issued in 1 780, 
Lady Huntingdon herself made the selection, with the 
assistance of her cousin, the Honourable and Reverend 
Walter Shirley (1725-86). The book had a pronounced 
Calvinist flavour, and held its place till 1854. Three names 
represented in Anglican hymnals belonged to the 
Huntingdon entourage. One was Shirley himself., who 
besides hymns of his own was responsible for the popular 
Good Friday hymn, 'Sweet the moments rich in blessing' 
*iog f 105. This was a very drastic recast of an earlier 
hymn that appeared in 1757 in an "Inghamite" collection 
usually known as the Kendal Hymn Book. Still more famous 
is 'All hail, the power of Jesus' name' *3oo 1364 440, 
the writer of which, Edward Perronet (? 1726-92), offici- 
ated at Canterbury as one of her ladyship's "ministers" 
until he quarrelled with her. The third name is Thomas 
Haweis (1734-1820), author of the hymn C O Thou from 
Whom all goodness flows' *283 |85 $117, and also of the 
fine tune to which it was originally set, known as 'Rich- 
mond' *i72 ii |375 $468. 

iii. The permanent contribution to hymnody of the 
Evangelical movement within the Church of England is 
far more important than that of any other outcome of 
Wesley's initial impulse except Methodism itself, with 
which it may fairly challenge comparison in this respect. 
The first of the Evangelical leaders, William Romaine, 
was indeed an irreconcilable opponent of the practice of 
hymn-singing and adhered to Calvin's principle of "The 
Bible and the Bible only" in Church song. But even in 
attacking the new Hymnody he was compelled to bear an 
unwilling testimony to its success. "The singing of the 



psalms," he wrote in 1775, "is now almost as despicable 
among the modern religions as it was some time ago 
among the prophane." 284 He is, of course, speaking of 
Evangelical circles only : elsewhere the old Psalmody still 
reigned more or less supreme. The opposite view to 
Romaine's was championed by Martin Madan, a clergy- 
man who had founded with the assistance of his friends 
the Lock Hospital, near Hyde Park Corner, where he 
officiated as chaplain and won considerable repute as a 
preacher. For its use he published in 1760 a Collection of 
Psalms and Hymns (usually called the "Lock Hospital 
Collection") to which reference has already been made. 
Other collections from various hands followed Madan's, of 
which that issued by Richard Gonyers (1767) is worthy of 
mention in that in its second edition (1772) Gowper's two 
famous hymns, 'There is a fountain filled with blood' and 
'O for a closer walk with GOD', first saw the light. More 
important, however, than any of these is Psalms and Hymns 
for Public and Private worship ', put forth in 1776 by Augustus 
Toplady (1740-78). Toplady was a consumptive graduate 
of Dublin University who became Vicar of Broadhem- 
bury in Devon. He was a popular preacher and withal a 
fanatical Galvinist. From this standpoint he made 
sustained and bitter attacks on John Wesley, who held 
his tongue on the ground that he "did not fight with 
chimney-sweeps". Toplady's controversial fury, however, 
reveals only the less attractive side of an odd and un- 
balanced character that had many compensating quali- 
ties. In his collection he included a number of Charles 
Wesley's hymns, but emended from his own Calvinist 
standpoint. It also contained six hymns by himself, one of 
them the celebrated 'Rock of ages, cleft for me' *i84 J477 
$636. It has been frequently criticized, and is perhaps 
hardly as popular to-day as it was : but it has an intense 
and profoundly moving quality that is all its own. It was 
a great favourite of the High Churchman Gladstone, and 



was sung at his funeral. The form in which it is familiar is 
the author's own, apart from a well-justified alteration of 
the line 'When my eye-strings break in death'. It may be 
added that the story that Toplady wrote it when shelter- 
ing from a storm in a cleft rock in the Mendips is without 
any foundation in fad. 285 

Three years after Toplady's collection, in 1779, appeared 
the most remarkable product of the Evangelical move- 
ment in the sphere of hymnody, the book which may be 
said to have definitely fixed the type of the "Evangelical" 
hymn. This was the volume entitled Olney Hymns, Z86 
arranged in three books and containing 280 hymns by 
John Newton (1725-1807), Vicar of Olney, Bucks, and 
68 by his friend, the poet William Cowper (1731-1800). 
The project was begun at the latter's suggestion and was 
undertaken (as Newton informs us in his preface) partly 
from "a desire of promoting the faith and comfort of 
sincere Christians", partly "as a monument, to perpetuate 
the remembrance of an intimate and endeared friend- 
ship". But it had not proceeded far when Gowper was 
stricken with mental breakdown (1773) ; and Newton had 
to complete it by himself. To prevent misapprehension he 
appended the letter G to his friend's hymns in the pub- 
lished volume. 

The close friendship of Newton and Gowper is a striking 
proof of the power of a common religious interest to unite 
men as widely sundered as possible in temperament and 
in life-history. John Newton, like many of Wesley's early 
preachers (including Olivers), was a "brand plucked from 
the burning". Whether either he or they were quite as bad 
in their unregenerate days as they afterwards believed is 
perhaps open to doubt: but Newton's early life was at 
least sufficiently adventurous. He went to sea at the age of 
eleven, was flogged as a deserter from the Navy and for 
fifteen months was servant to a slave-dealer in Africa. The 
one anchor of his existence in these years was his love for 



his future wife, Mary Gatlett. His conversion was begun 
by a chance reading of Thomas a Kempis and sealed by the 
experiences of a terrible night at sea. For six years he was 
the pious captain of a slave-ship. After nine more years, 
during which he consorted with Wesley and Whitefield 
and struggled hard to make good his lack of education, 
he was ordained as curate of Olney (1764). It was here 
that he formed his friendship with Cowper, who assisted 
him as a sort of unpaid lay curate. He left Olney in 1780 
to be Rector of St. Mary Woolnoth in the city of London, 
where he became a notable pillar of Evangelicalism and 
remained till his death. 

The tragic story of Cowper' s life is too well known to 
need retelling in these pages. It was as lacking in external 
incident as Newton's was the reverse. The interest of it lies 
partly in its revelation of a character as gentle and 
humorous as it was exquisitely gifted, partly in the appal- 
ling religious melancholia which overshadowed by far the 
greater part of it and issued three times in definite bouts 
of insanity, from the last of which he never emerged. It 
was after his recovery from the first of these attacks that 
he formed his friendship with his guardian-angel, Mrs. 
Unwin ("My Mary"), in whose home he lived, first at 
Huntingdon and then from 1768 to 1786 at Olney. 
Opinions vary as to the effect of Newton's influence on 
the poet. Perhaps the truth is fairly accurately summed up 
by Sir Leslie Stephen: "The friendship was durable. 
Newton, if stern, was a man of sense and feeling. It seems 
probable, however, that he was insufficiently alive to the 
danger of exciting Cowper's nerves." 287 The "old 
African blasphemer" (as Newton called himself in later 
years) was hardly an ideal companion for one of Cowper's 
sensitive, shrinking temperament : and his fiery emotional 
type of religion cannot have had a precisely soothing 
effect. It seems undeniable that when Newton left Olney 
Cowper's health improved and his spirits became more 



equable. On the other hand, it is most unfair to regard 
Cowper's madness as due to religion. His belief that he 
was a lost soul was the efFed of his insanity, not vice versa. 
Indeed, so long as he was not pressed too hard, his religion 
seems to have been the ultimate source of whatever inward 
peace and happiness he ever knew. 288 

Remembering the fierce furnace of spiritual experience 
through which in their different ways the two friends were 
called to pass, we shall scarcely be surprised at the 
emotionalism that characterizes their hymns. The inspira- 
tion of both was essentially autobiographical : and this is 
always perilous in a hymn-writer. It is hard to say how far 
the Olney Hymns were designed for congregational use as a 
whole. Many of them are indubitably quite unsuited for 
the purpose, voicing as they do a kind of religious experi- 
ence to which the average worshipper is a stranger. But 
the contents of the book were quickly laid hold of by 
hymnal-compilers : and many of its hymns achieved great 
popularity in all denominations. The effecl: of this was by 
no means wholly beneficial, encouraging as it did that 
tendency to force emotion and to invite to self-deception 
in regard to it which is the great danger of Revivalist 
religion. But not all the Olney Hymns are tarred with this 
brush : and their excessively gloomy view of man's fallen 
nature is normally offset by an exultant sense of his escape 
from it into the paths of salvation. Those of them that have 
survived in common use are for the most part remarkably 
free from the morbidity that we usually associate with 
Evangelical hymnody. Of Newton's we may mention : 
'Glorious things of thee are spoken 5 *545 J393 +5 > 
'Great Shepherd of Thy people, hear' *6go ; 'How sweet 
the name of Jesus sounds' *i76 f4O5 527; and 'Come, 
my soul, thy suit prepare' *527 J377 +473 ', to which may 
be added the gay, lilting spring-song, 'Kindly spring again 
is here' 1287 %z. Cowper's hymns include the noble 'Goo 
moves in a mysterious way' *373 1394 503 (a hymn that 



has helped to save many a tried and tormented spirit from 
the poet's own despair) and the lovely 'O for a closer 
walk with GOD' *630 1445 Ji 12, together with 'Hark, my 
soul, it is the Lord' *s6o f40o 510, 'Jesus, where'er Thy 
people meet' *52Q ^422 551 and 'There is a fountain 
filled with blood' *633 1332 ; of which only the last has 
"dated" through its use of the old-fashioned Evangelical 


With the appearance of the Olney Hymns the earlier type 
of Evangelical hymn-book, arranged according to a 
purely subjective classification and ignoring entirely the 
Prayer Book scheme of worship, may be said to come to 
an end. In the succeeding period there emerged a new 
type of book, which sought "to adapt the new Hymnody 
to the methods and manners of the Church". 289 

The inspiration of these books was still Evangelical : but 
their emergence was assisted by a slow yet steady change 
that was taking place in the attitude of the National 
Church at large in regard to hymn-singing. The change 
was as yet far from universal. The more conservative still 
clung manfully to their "Tate and Brady" and "Sternhold 
and Hopkins". To do otherwise would be to bow the knee 
to Dissent. When Dr. Johnson saw a girl attending the 
Sacrament in a bedgown, "I gave her privately a crown," 
he says, "though I saw Hart's Hymns in her hand." 29 
At the most it might be permissible to do what Bishop 
Gibson suggested, 291 and arrange the metrical psalms in 
such a way as to strike the keynote of the Church's times 
and seasons as they came round. Others would tolerate 
hymns on condition that they were not used in the liturgical 
services. On the other hand, there was a growing inclina- 
tion to allow their use even here, so long as it was done in 
strict moderation and confined to the chief festivals. This 
attitude showed itself in an increased readiness to use the 
meagre collection of hymns provided in the Supplement to 



the New Version. These hymns began to be printed in the 
prayer-books along with the psalm-versions themselves : 
and additions were even made to their number. It was in 
this way that about 1816 the Easter hymn, 'Jesus Christ is 
risen to-day' 292 *i34 ^133 $145 (of which both words 
and music are first found in a little collection of 1708 
framed on German models and called Lyra Davidicd) 
began to be included by the side of the produces of Tate 
and Brady. 

To the new movement in favour of hymn-singing a 
further impetus was given by the great popularity 
accorded to the vocal performances of the inmates of 
certain charitable institutions in London. In the later part 
of the eighteenth century the polite world loved to parade 
its "sensibility" : and it became the fashion to luxuriate in 
the emotion excited by the singing of "Magdalens" and 
"charity-children". For the institutions in question special 
compositions were written and hymn-books compiled. We 
have already mentioned Madan's collection of 1760, pre- 
pared for the use of the Lock Hospital with its choir of 
"female penitents". Similar collections were produced for 
the Magdalen Hospital at Streatham and the House of 
Refuge for Female Orphans near Westminster Bridge. 
The organist of the latter, Thomas Riley, set his face 
against the frivolous tunes of the Methodists, "which", he 
said, "mostly consist of what they call Fuges, or (more 
properly) Imitations, and are indeed fit to be sung only by 
those who made them". 293 As a counterpoise he issued in 
1762 a collection of tunes in the old solid style, in which 
Dr. Samuel Howard's tune, 'St. Bride' *ioi 174 699 and 
Gilding's 'St. Edmund' *395 ii fi7i 120 ii, first saw the 
light. A later collection by Riley's successor included the 
Frenchman Francois Barthelemon's 'Morning Hymn' 
*3 ii J257 +25. To these must be added the Foundling 
Hospital Collection, first issued in 1774, which contributed 
(c. 1801) one well-known hymn to our hymn-books, 'Praise 



the Lord, ye heavens adore Him' *2Q2 "["535 624. A 
specimen of the sort of thing that the foundlings were 
sometimes expected to sing may be quoted : 

Obscured by mean and humble birth 

In ignorance we lay, 
Till Christian bounty call'd us forth 

And led us into day. 294 

In the parish churches, too, the children of the local 
charity schools were formed into a sort of choir to lead the 
singing. Once a year the "charity-children" of the metro- 
polis, institutional and otherwise, were gathered together 
for a united service, held latterly in St. Paul's Cathedral 
and regarded as one of the sights of the town. The arrange- 
ment lasted till 1877, by which time public interest in the 
event no longer warranted the trouble and expense 
involved in installing the staging, etc., required for it. 

While the prejudice against hymns on the part of 
Churchmen generally was thus dying down, the Evan- 
gelical movement which championed them was on its side 
ceasing to be a sort of ecclesiastical Ishmael, and was 
coming into close contact with the main body of the 
Church. It was no longer an affair of proprietary chapels 
and isolated centres of influence, but was becoming a 
definite party within the Establishment and was entrench- 
ing itself firmly in the parochial system. Thus on both 
sides, at the end of the eighteenth century, the time was 
ripe for the first beginnings of a movement towards a 
hymn-book that should be "the companion of the Book 
of Common Prayer". 

The credit of initiating this development belongs to an 
Evangelical divine, the Reverend Basil Woodd (1760- 
1831), who was preacher and later Incumbent of Bentinck 
Chapel, Marylebone. 295 Woodd issued in 1794 a book 
entitled The Psalms of David, and other portions of the Sacred 
Scriptures, arranged according to the order of the Church of 



England for every Sunday in the year ; also for the Saints' Days, 
Holy Communion and other services. In this a metrical psalm 
was indicated for each Sunday and Holy Day to serve as 
an Introit, along with one or more hymns adapted to the 
season or subjecl of the day. This seclion was followed by 
hymns for Communion, Baptism, etc., and a few for 
general use in worship. 

During the next two or three decades numerous collec- 
tions were published on more or less similar lines to 
Woodd's. Of course the resulting growth of hymnody was 
by no means welcomed everywhere. "The importance 
which in many places attaches to the Hymn Book," com- 
plained Bishop Marsh of Peterborough in a charge of 
iSao, 296 "is equal if not superior to the importance 
ascribed to the Prayer Book." Some bishops even pro- 
hibited the use of hymns in their dioceses altogether. The 
crisis came to a head when in 1819 Thomas Gotterill, 
Vicar of St. Paul's, Sheffield, issued the eighth edition of 
his Selection of Psalms and Hymns for public and private use, 
adapted to the services of the Church of England. In this edition 
he had the assistance of the Sheffield editor, the Moravian 
Montgomery, who not only printed the book and collabo- 
rated in it, but contributed some 50 of his own hymns. It 
was presumably at his suggestion, too, that the book intro- 
duced the Christmas hymn, 'Christians, awake' *6i f 21 
73, in the familiar version a reduction (further re- 
duced in E.H. and S.P.} from 48 lines to 36 of the original 
written in 1749 as a Christmas gift for his daughter by 
John Byrom (1691-1763), a former Fellow of Trinity, 
Cambridge, who became a well-known teacher of short- 
hand and eventually settled in Manchester. 297 When 
CotterilPs book was put into use part of his congregation 
took umbrage : and a suit was brought against him in the 
York Consistory Court. Through the mediation of Arch- 
bishop Vernon-Harcourt, however, a compromise was 
effected. Cotterill withdrew his book: and in 1820 a 



revised and smaller edition was issued under the Arch- 
bishop's supervision and at his expense. The battle on 
behalf of hymnody was thus effectively won. Its enemies 
continued to attack it : but no further legal adion was 
attempted. A further shower of hymnals followed, in 
which the influence of CotterilPs was very marked. The 
metrical psalms did not yet disappear : but they were only 
used in selections and were accompanied by hymns on the 
same footing. The usual title of these collections was 
"Psalms and Hymns". 

Before leaving the period under review mention should 
be made of two pairs of hymn-writers who fall within it 
but lie off the main track of the movement, at once Evan- 
gelical and within the framework of the National Church, 
that we have been describing. The first pair were Evan- 
gelical clergymen who found themselves unable to accom- 
modate themselves to the Church's system and pursued 
paths of their own Rowland Hill (1744-1833) and 
Thomas Kelly (1769-1854). The former, the son of a 
Shropshire baronet, quitted his curacy to pradise for 
twelve years an itinerant ministry and finally, in 1783, 
established himself at the Surrey Chapel in Blackfriars 
Road. He never renounced his Orders, but carried on a 
very successful ministry in London for fifty years without 
episcopal sanction. On opening his chapel he printed a 
Collection of Psalms and Hymns, for which his organist com- 
piled a tune-book c. 1800. Hill was an enthusiast for 
Sunday Schools and popularized the idea of a children's 
hymnody. He wrote the hymn that has been recast as 
'Lo ! round the throne a glorious band' *435- 

Kelly was an Irishman who was ordained in 1792 and 
worked for a time in Dublin in collaboration with Hill. 
Both were inhibited by the Archbishop, who disapproved 
of their evangelistic methods. Thereupon Kelly began to 
preach in unconsecrated buildings, and finally, unlike his 
friend, seceded from the Church altogether to found a 



seel of his own, now extinft. He was an extremely prolific 
writer, his hymns totalling 751 in all. Three of them are 
very well known : 'The Head that once was crowned with 
thorns' *30i fi47 t J 75> 'We sing the praise of Him who 
died 5 *200 f5 10 J I 32 and 'The Lord is risen indeed' *5O4 
fGay : and two others are hardly less so : 'Through the day 
Thy love has spared us' *25 J28i and 'Come, see the 
place where Jesus lay' *i39- 

The personal link that united Hill and Kelly is repro- 
duced in the case of the other pair of hymn-writers 
Reginald Heber (1783-1826) and Henry Hart Milman 
(1791-1868). But whereas the two former diverged on one 
side from the main track of Evangelical Church hymnody, 
the latter two diverged from it on the opposite side. Heber 
and Milman were not Evangelicals, but High Churchmen 
in the sense of their time. Of the two Heber is the more 
important, as the initiator of a movement in which 
Milman only collaborated. The son of an old and wealthy 
family, he went up to Brasenose College, Oxford, where 
he won the Newdigate with a poem, Palestine, which is 
practically the only prize-poem that has secured more 
than an ephemeral fame. In 1807 he became Vicar of the 
family living of Hodnet, Salop. Here he combined a 
devoted ministry to his flock with the practice of litera- 
ture, writing for the Quarterly Review, editing Jeremy 
Taylor and enjoying the friendship of some of the leading 
men of letters of his time. He had always been deeply 
interested in foreign missions, especially work in India : 
and when in 1823 he was offered the see of Calcutta he 
accepted it. For three years he laboured unceasingly, 
travelling immense distances and accomplishing a signal 
work. He died worn out at Trichinopoly in 1826. 

As a hymn-writer Heber is important not only on 
account of his personal output but as inaugurating a new 
type of hymn the "literary hymn", aiming not merely 
at the expression of religious feeling but also at delibe- 



rately controlling that expression by the canons of the 

poetic art. 298 At the same time he carried on the principle, 

already put into pradice by Basil Woodd and others, of 

adapting hymnody to the requirements of the Church's 

year. On these lines he projected at Hodnet a Church 

hymn-book which should be at the same time "a collection 

of sacred poetry". For this he not only collected materials 

from earlier sources, but wrote hymns himself and asked 

his literary friends, including Scott, Southey and Milman, 

to write them too. Actually only Milman did so. An 

attempt was also made to secure for his hymnal the 

authorization of the Primate and the Bishop of London : 

but the cautious prelates, though sympathetic, shrank 

from so definite a step. Heber's collection travelled with 

him in manuscript to India, and was only published after 

his death, with the title Hymns written and adapted to the 

Weekly Church Service of the Tear and a personal dedication 

to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Its contents consisted of 

57 hymns by Heber himself, 12 by Milman and 29 by 

other writers. Of Heber's own hymns the best, as the most 

famous, is 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord GOD Almighty' *i6o 

f 162 +187. Others are : 'From Greenland's icy mountains' 

*358 t547> 'Brightest and best of the sons of the morning' 

*643 J4i, 85, 'The Son of GOD goes forth to war' * 

1 2 02" 216, 'Virgin-born, we bow before Thee' *622 

'Goo that madest earth and heaven' (verse i only) *26 

1 2 68 46, and the two beautiful Eucharistic hymns, 

'Bread of the world' *7i4 1305 ^265 and 'O most merciful' 

t3 2 3 t 2 ?6- Of the hymns by Milman, who later became 

Dean of St. Paul's and the eminent historian of Latin 

Christianity, the best is the splendid Palm Sunday hymn, 

'Ride on, ride on, in majesty' *gg |620 137. Others 

are 'O help us, Lord ; each hour of need' *27g t&3 114 

and 'When our heads are bowed with woe' *3gg 




BISHOP HEBER'S attempt to provide a hymnal 
that should be at the same time "literary" and 
"liturgical" unexceptionable as poetry and 
adapted to the varying requirements of the Church's year 
was not destined to any great success, so far as adual 
use of his collection was concerned. Indeed, quite apart 
from anything else, the lack of suitable tunes was an in- 
superable difficulty. Yet it may rightly be regarded as a 
landmark in the process by which hymns came to achieve 
their present position in Anglican worship. In addition to 
the permanent contributions that it made to English 
hymnody in the shape of individual hymns, its significance 
lies in two directions first, in its character as definitely 
a "hymn-book" with only a few psalms introduced that 
could be worked into its scheme, as opposed to the 
"psalms and hymns" on an equal footing of the con- 
temporary Evangelical collections ; and, secondly, in the 
work that it did in helping to break down the prejudice 
against hymns which still persisted in non-Evangelical 

In this latter respecl, however, its influence was slight 
as compared with the truly revolutionary change that was 
to be set in motion soon afterwards by the coming of the 
Oxford Movement. In the same year (1827) m which 
Heber's Hymns first saw the light John Keble published 
his Christian Tear. This was in no sense a hymnal, but a 



collection of pious meditations on the liturgical round of 
fast and festival. Its significance lay in the mild glow of 
" Catholic" sentiment an inheritance from the Laudian 
divines of the seventeenth century with which the poet 
contrived to invest his themes, and which unquestionably 
did much to prepare men's minds for the great Movement 
that was speedily to be inaugurated by his famous sermon 
on "National Apostasy" in 1833 and to be given shape and 
substance in the Traffs for the Times. The essence of the 
Tractarian position was the appeal to Catholic antiquity : 
and this was to have important results in hymnody as in 
weightier matters. Hitherto the Hymn, with its Methodist 
and Evangelical associations, had been deeply suspect to 
those who prided themselves on a loyal and conservative 
Churchmanship. Such men had constituted themselves 
the champions of Psalmody, despite the taint of its 
Genevan origin, because they disliked Hymnody far more. 
This view appears to have been shared at first by most of 
the Tractarians themselves. But soon the logic of fads 
began to operate irresistibly in favour of a practice which 
a study of ancient liturgical forms had revealed as no mere 
schismatic innovation, but as an integral part of the vener- 
able Catholic order of worship. This being so, those who 
desired to restore to the Church of England its Catholic 
heritage must be careful not to neglect this part of it 
both by using the old Catholic hymns in translated form 
and also by the production of new hymns that should 
share their spirit and atmosphere. Such new hymns, like 
the old, must be less an expression of personal experience 
and need than a reflection of the Church's order of 
doctrine and worship. In a word, they must be, first and 
foremost, "liturgical". In them should be heard the voice 
"not of the individual believer, but of the worshipping 
Church". 29 9 

So far as translation was concerned, Keble's pupil and 
friend, Isaac Williams (1802-65), Fellow of Trinity, 

o 199 


Oxford, and later Newman's curate at St. Mary's, had 
already made a start even before the formal inception of 
the Movement in 1833 ; although it would appear that his 
versions were not made with any idea of their being used 
in public worship, but simply for his "personal edifica- 
tion". Indeed he has told us that he chose for them "un- 
rhythmical harsh metres" with the express objecl of 
excluding such use, which he regarded as "unautho- 
rized". 300 Williams's translations were not made from the 
hymns in the mediaeval service-books, which at this 
period were virtually inaccessible, but from those in the 
"neo-Gallican" French breviaries of the later seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries. He himself has related in his 
Autobiography how about 1829 he can ie across a copy of the 
Paris Breviary brought from France by a friend, and how 
he and Keble were "very much struck". 301 At once he set 
to work to make English versions of some of its contents, 
which were published in the British Magazine from 1833 
onwards and were brought together in 1839 in a volume 
with the title Hymns from the Parisian Breviary. This included 
a number of hymns that have since become well known, 
including C O Word of GOD above' *395t I 7 I 3 < O heavenly 
Jerusalem' *42g 1251 and the splendid hymn for 
Apostles, Williams's masterpiece, 'Disposer supreme' 
*43i jiyS the last a translation from Santeuil. In the 
previous year he had published a volume of sacred poems, 
The Cathedral^ in which he worked out the symbolism of 
the component parts of a great church : but the form of 
these poems makes them unsuitable for use as hymns. 
Williams's best-known original hymn, 'Be Thou my 
guardian and my guide' *s8s fs6g Jioo, appeared in 
1842 in a little book called Hymns on the Catechism ; and 
the Lenten hymn, 'Lord, in this Thy mercy's day' *Q4 
(76, in a much more ambitious collection, The Baptistery, 
published in the same year. 

Meanwhile side by side with Isaac Williams two other 



translators had been at work. One of these, John Chandler 
(1806-76), who became Vicar of Witley, Surrey, in 1837, 
was directly inspired by Williams's efforts. For some time 
he had been anxious to see the ancient prayers of the 
Liturgy companioned by hymns of corresponding date 
instead of the hymns in current use, "many of which", he 
felt, were "from sources to which our Primitive Apostolic 
Church would not choose to be indebted". Having seen 
Williams's versions in the British Magazine he felt that 
many of them provided exactly what was required, and 
he decided to follow his example. "So," he tells us, "I got 
a copy of the Parisian Breviary [1736] and one or two 
other old books of Latin Hymns, especially one compiled 
by Georgius Cassander, printed at Cologne in the year 
1556, and regularly applied myself to the work of selection 
and translation." 302 The result was seen in a collection 
issued in 1837, The Hymns of the Primitive Church. The title 
was hardly accurate, as most of the Latin originals dated 
from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries : but pre- 
sumably Chandler was not aware of this. His translations, 
which were very free but also very singable, speedily 
found their way into hymn-books : and a considerable 
number of them are familiar. The best known are : 'On 
Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry' *50 fg, 'Conquering 
kings their titles take' *i75 "]"37, 'In stature grows the 
Heavenly Child' 146=^*78, 'As now the sun's declining 
rays' *i3 "[265 and 'Christ is our corner-stone' *23Q. 

The year in which Chandler's collection appeared saw 
also the publication of another, with the title Ancient 
Hymns from the Roman Breviary, for Domestick ' Use. ... To 
which are added Original Hymns. The author of this, Richard 
Mant (1776-1848), was an English-born divine who after 
being Rector of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, held three 
Irish sees in succession Killaloe (1820), Down and 
Connor (1823) and Dromore (1842). Here again the 
versions were very free : nor had the originals much better 



claim to be described as "ancient", being taken from the 
Roman Breviary of 1632, in which the mediaeval Office 
Hymns had been ruthlessly mangled to satisfy the classical 
taste of the Renaissance. However, in the then state of 
liturgical science no one knew or cared about such things. 
The hymns were "from the Latin" that was enough. 
Indeed the elegant Latinity of Mant's and Chandler's 
originals appealed to men with a classical education far 
more than the really "ancient" hymns could have done, 
even if these had been available. Of Mant's versions one 
figures in most hymnals, viz. the hymn for Apostles, 'Let 
the round world with songs rejoice' ji76=*754. His 
version of Stabat mater provides the basis (with many 
alterations) of that in E.H. tn5- Another Passion hymn, 
'See the destined day arise' *ii3 jiio, is based on parts 
of Fortunatus's Pange lingua, but with such freedom that 
it can hardly be described as a translation. Mant's best 
and best-known hymn, however, is one of the "original" 
hymns included in the 1837 volume, 'Bright the vision 
that delighted' *i6i f372 460 ; another being 'For all 
Thy saints, O Lord' tig6=*448. 

The new interest in Latin hymns aroused by these pro- 
ductions was greatly strengthened when in 1838 John 
Henry Newman (1801-90), then the leading Tractarian 
of them all and destined after his conversion to Rome in 
1845 to become an Oratorian, and finally (1879) Cardinal, 
published two volumes entitled Hymni Ecclesiae, which 
made the text of a large number of them for the first time 
easily accessible to the English reading public. Here again 
the hymns, or at least the great majority, were far from 
representing the authentic "ancient" hymnody of the 
Catholic Church. But at least Newman appears to have 
been aware of the limitations of his collection in this 
resped. The 199 hymns in the first volume were selected 
from the Paris Breviary ; the 1 30 hymns in the second 
(which include some duplicates) from the Roman 



Breviary and the English mediaeval Breviaries of Sarum 
and York. At the end were appended two collections of 
'Proses', taken from the Paris Missal and the York Pro- 
cessional respectively. The purpose of Newman's work 
was to enrich private devotion, pending the time when the 
Church of England, condemned since the Reformation 
(at least officially) to the use of nothing but the metrical 
psalter, should again be found worthy to have a hymnody 
of her own. As the preface puts it, with the true Newman 
eloquence : 

She waits for the majestic course [of Providence] to perfect 
in its own good time what she cannot extort from it ; for the 
gradual drifting of precious things upon her shores, now one 
and now another, out of which she may complete her rosary 
and enrich her beads beads and rosary more pure and true 
than those which at the command of duty she flung away. 

Meanwhile those who can make use of them will do well 

to revert to the discarded collections of the ante-reform era, 
[which] are far more profitable to the Christian than the light 
and wanton effusions which are their present substitute among 

Among the "precious things" spoken of in his preface 
Newman may well have contemplated such translations 
of the ancient Latin hymns as those to which Williams and 
Chandler had already set their hand. But his own experi- 
ments in this direction were neither numerous nor 
particularly successful : he was content to supply an abund- 
ance of materials for others to work upon. His single con- 
tribution (at least in his Tractarian days) appeared in 
Tratf; 75, 'On the Roman Breviary', which contained 14 
translations taken from that source. Of these only two 
have survived in A.M. the hymn for Terce, 'Come, 
Holy Ghost, Who ever One' *g and the Compline hymn, 
'Now that the daylight dies away' *i6. Neither is much 
used : and neither has found a place in E.H. 



Newman's reputation as a hymn-writer rests on quite 
other grounds. His two famous hymns were original com- 
positions and were never intended for use as hymns at all. 
By a curious irony, indeed, one of them, 'Lead, kindly 
light' *266 1425 t554> represents, in the intense subjec- 
tivity of its mood, the very opposite of everything that 
Newman himself regarded as suitable to a hymn. Like 
many of the Evangelical hymns, it was originally written 
as an outlet for the author's own personal emotion. He 
has told the story in his Apologia. While travelling in Italy 
with Hurrell Froude early in 1833, he was weighed down 
by the thought of the peril threatening the Church of 
England from the triumphant Liberalism of the Reform 
era and became conscious of a "mission" to save her. At 
Leonforte in Sicily he was stricken down with fever : 

My servant thought that I was dying, and begged for my 
last directions; I gave them, as he wished ; but I said, "I shall 
not die ... for I have not sinned against light". . . . Towards 
the end of May I left for Palermo. ... I was aching to get 
home ; yet for want of a vessel I was kept at Palermo for three 
weeks. ... At last I got off in an orange-boat, bound for 
Marseilles. Then it was that I wrote the lines, "Lead, kindly 
light", which have since become well known. We were be- 
calmed a whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio. I was writing 
verses the whole time of my passage. 303 

Immediately after his return to England Keble preached 
his famous sermon, and the Oxford Movement began. 
The poem was published in the British Magazine in 1834 
and again in Lyra Apostolica (1836). Newman's other 
famous hymn, 'Praise to the Holiest in the height' * 1 72 
f47i 625, belongs to a much later period, when he had 
been for many years a Roman Catholic. It is part of the 
'Chorus of Angelicals' from his poem The Dream of 
Gerontius, written in 1865. Another excerpt from the 
same poem, 'Firmly I believe and truly', forming part 
of the dying Gerontius's profession of faith, appears as 
a hymn in E.H. J39 - 



If the Tradarian leaders inclined, at any rate at first, 
to share the general "High Church" objection of the time 
to the singing of hymns at all in public worship, a number 
of their followers were anxious, like Chandler, to intro- 
duce translations of Latin hymns as "Catholic" rivals to 
the hymns popularized by the Evangelicals. It was felt, 
too, that since it was impossible to substitute the Breviary 
Offices for those of the Prayer Book, the use of such hymns 
would at least serve to impart a Catholic atmosphere to 
the latter, and also help towards a more adequate observ- 
ance of seasons and saints' days. This was the line adopted 
at Margaret Chapel (the forerunner of the present All 
Saints' , Margaret Street) , which had become the chief focus 
of Traclarian influence in London and sought to provide 
a model of what Traclarian worship should be. In 1837 
its Incumbent, William Dodsworth, published a collection 
for use there entitled A Selection of Psalms, to which are added 
Hymns chiefly ancient. Four years later Chandler rearranged 
and expanded his original volume in the form of a hymnal 
with the title The Hymns of the Church, mostly Primitive, 
Collected., Translated and Arranged for Public Use. In 1849 
a new collection of Introits and Hymns was printed for 
use in Margaret Chapel : and other collections appeared 
framed on similar lines. 

Meanwhile other translators had been in the field, 
whose work was drawn upon in the later of these collec- 
tions. Three may be mentioned here. The first, Frederick 
Oakeley (1802-80), has been spoken of earlier (p. 98) in 
connection with his translation of Adeste fideles. A former 
Fellow of Balliol, he succeeded Dodsworth in 1839 as 
Incumbent of Margaret Chapel, for the congregation of 
which he wrote his famous version in 1841. He became a 
Roman Catholic in 1845 the same year as Newman. 
A second translator was W. J. Copeland (1804-85), who 
in 1848 published his Hymns for the Week and Hymns for the 
Seasons, Translated from the Latin. Copeland, a Fellow of 



Trinity, Oxford, had been Newman's curate at Little- 
more, but remained faithful to the Church of his baptism 
and spent the last 36 years of his life as Rector of Farnham, 
Essex. He is represented in A.M. by his versions of three 
of the seasonal Compline hymns *63, 95, 141. Of these the 
Lenten one, 'O Christ, Who art the Light and Day 5 , is also 
in E.H. |8i. More important is Edward Caswall (1814- 
78), who in 1850 went over to Rome and joined Newman 
at the Birmingham Oratory. The year before his con- 
version he published Lyra Catholica (1849), containing 
197 translations from the Roman Breviary and Missal and 
from other sources. A number of these have achieved wide 
currency, especially 'Hark ! a thrilling voice is sounding 5 

*47=t5 ' M Y GoD > l love Thee ' * 106 T 8o > 'Bethlehem, 
of noblest cities' |4 *7^ 'All ye who seek a comfort 
sure' J7i *ii2, and the translation in C.M. of Jesu 
dulcis memoria, 'Jesu, the very thought of Thee' *i78 t4iQ- 

None of the earlier Tractarian collections succeeded in 
winning more than a limited local use: nor did they 
deserve to do so. Their defects and the defects of the trans- 
lators whose work they embodied were exposed with 
merciless rigour in an article on "English Hymnology" 
contributed by Neale to the Christian Remembrancer in its 
issue of October, i84g. 304 It was pointed out that in the 
majority of cases these translators had preferred the com- 
paratively modern (and sometimes even heretical) pro- 
duds of the Paris Breviary to the really ancient hymns of 
the Church ; that they had failed to reproduce the metres 
of the originals ; and that (worst of all) their work be- 
trayed "great carelessness, haste and slovenliness". No 
hymnal based on such material could be worthy of general 

Having thus performed the negative task of criticism 
Neale proceeded to the positive and practical one of 
showing a more excellent way and not merely of show- 
ing it but of doing himself the bulk of the work involved. 



Of the Tradarian hymn-writers he stands out as incom- 
parably the first. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that, 
along with Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, he stands at 
the head of all other English hymn-writers, even though 
his achievement lay in the field of translation rather than 
of original composition. The external side of his short life 
can be quickly told. John Mason Neale (1818-65) was the 
son of a clergyman of "pronounced Evangelical opinions" 
who had been Senior Wrangler and Fellow of St. John's, 
Cambridge. He went up in 1836 to Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge, where he obtained a Scholarship and was reputed 
the best classic of his year : but his lack of mathematical 
aptitude compelled him to take an ordinary degree. He 
was none the less elected Fellow of Downing College. At 
Cambridge he threw himself with enthusiasm into the 
Church movement and was one of the founders of the 
Cambridge Camden Society for the study of ecclesiology. 
After a stay in Madeira necessitated by lung trouble he 
was appointed in 1846 Warden of Sackville College, East 
Grinstead, where he remained without receiving further 
preferment to the end of his life. Yet from this insignificant 
centre described by his friend Littledale as "an obscure 
almshouse with a salary of 27 a year" and despite his 
physical frailty, Neale contrived to do a work on behalf of 
the Anglo-Catholic Revival of which it is hardly possible 
to exaggerate the extent or importance. Besides his 
achievement in the field of hymnody, he wrote The 
History of the Eastern Church, in 5 volumes (1847-73) 
still a standard work ; A History of the Jansenist Church in 
Holland (1858) ; a 4-volume Commentary on the Psalms 
(1860-74) in collaboration with Littledale; translations 
of the Primitive Liturgies of the East ; together with essays 
on liturgiology, articles, sermons and even stories. Nor 
was it only with his pen that he found an outlet for his 
zeal : he was also a man of aclion. An enthusiastic cham- 
pion of the religious life for women, he successfully 



founded the well-known Sisterhood of St. Margaret at 
East Grinstead in the teeth of bitter popular prejudice and 
opposition, which on one occasion nearly cost him his life. 

It is, however, with Neale's contribution to hymnody 
that we are here concerned. The ideas on which he worked 
in making a hymnal for Anglican use were rigid indeed, 
and thoroughly consonant with his almost incredibly 
mediaeval cast of mind. They amounted, in fact, to 
nothing less than the throwing overboard of English post- 
Reformation hymns altogether and the substitution of 
translations of the Latin hymns in use in England in the 
Middle Ages. Further, these hymns were to be sung to 
their own plainsong melodies, which of course made it 
necessary that the translations should be in the same 
metres as the originals. These were the principles em- 
bodied in the Hymnal Noted, of which the first part ap- 
peared in 1852, containing 46 hymns mostly from the 
Sarum books, and the second, containing 59 more hymns, 
in 1854. Of the 105 hymns 94 were by Neale himself. 
Another translator was one of Neale's co-editors, Benjamin 
Webb (1820-85), later Vicar of St. Andrew's, Wells 
Street, and Prebendary of St. Paul's, whose versions in- 
cluded 'O love how deep, how broad, how high' *iy3 
t459, and 'Sing we triumphant hymns of praise' f^G. 
The hymns were accompanied by their proper melodies, 
the musical side of the work being under the care of the 
Rev. Thomas Helmore. 

Neale's experiment was courageous and interesting, and 
may be regarded as embodying the Traclarian ideal of a 
"Catholic" hymnal in its most uncompromising form. 
But in the nature of things it could not hope to win more 
than a very limited success : and in many quarters it 
merely excited ridicule. To ears attuned to the gushing 
rapture of Evangelical hymns the majority of Neale's 
versions must have sounded terribly grim and austere : 
yet his hymnal provided no jam to mingle, with the 



powder. As for the "Gregorian" melodies accompanying 
them, the ordinary organist and choir were unable even 
to read the notation in which they were set out ; while to 
the ordinary congregation their idiom sounded strange 
and unattractive, as indeed it largely continues to do to 
this day. The Hymnal Noted, in fact, appealed only to 
churches determined to be "Catholic" at any price. 

None the less, it is of great importance, not only as 
expressing an ideal, but also on account of the large con- 
tributions it has made to subsequent hymnals, especially 
(but by no means exclusively) those of the "High Church" 
type. For example, Neale's versions bulk largely both in 
A.M. and E.H., though the text of many has undergone 
not a little emendation. A considerable number of them 
are hardly of the kind to win great popularity : but others 
have achieved an almost universal fame. Neale's best- 
known hymns need not be dealt with here : for we have 
already spoken of them in an earlier chapter in connection 
with their originals. 

Besides the translations in the Hymnal Noted Neale also 
produced many others. Already in 1851 he had put forth 
a volume of Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, in which a 
number of hymns that figured in the Hymnal Noted were 
published for the first time, including his versions of 
Pange lingua, Vexilla Regis and Urbs beata. The Sequences 
in this collection were the first translations of this kind of 
hymn offered to the English public. Among them was the 
"Alleluiatic Sequence" *2Q5 J494? an d a number by (or 
attributed to) Adam of St. Victor, whom Neale esteemed 
as "to my mind the greatest Latin poet, not only of 
mediaeval, but of all ages" ! 305 Believers in transmigra- 
tion might certainly put forward more absurd theories 
than that the soul of the French poet had taken up its 
abode in the nineteenth century English one the resemb- 
lances between them are so striking, especially in their love 
of Scriptural typology. Neale's (partial) translation of the 


Rhythm of Bernard de Morlaix followed in 1858, and was 
accompanied by a descriptive preface. This volume is the 
source of the quartet of hymns of which 'Jerusalem the 
golden' is the best known. A further collection of Hymns 
on the Joys and Glories of Paradise was published in 1865. 
In addition to these translations Neale also published two 
important and valuable collections of Latin hymnal texts 
one of hymns from various Breviaries and Missals in 
1 85 1 and another of Sequences in 1 852. 

It is not only, however, by his translations from the 
Latin that Neale has put English Christianity under an 
undying obligation. What he did for the hymnody of the 
mediaeval Church of the West he also did, if less abund- 
antly, for that of the East in his Hymns of the Eastern Church 
(1862). Here his task was more difficult : for (as he himself 
explains in his preface) he could neither reproduce the 
form of his originals nor present them in their entirety. 306 
But even with these handicaps he managed to produce (as 
we have seen in an earlier chapter) a number of hymns 
that have become classical. 

Besides his translations from Latin and Greek, Neale 
produced a considerable number of original hymns as 
well. Two small volumes of Hymns for Children were pub- 
lished in 1842 and 1844 : the first including 'Around the 
throne of GOD a band' *335 J243 239 and the Embertide 
hymn, 'Christ is gone up' *32 |i66 ; and the second the 
other Embertide hymn, 'The earth, O Lord, is one great 
field' |i68=*354. The well known 'Come, ye faithful, 
raise the anthem' *302 t3^ ^ s a drastic recasting of a 
hymn by one Job Hupton, published in the Gospel Magazine 
in 1805. It appeared first in an article of Neale's in the 
Christian Remembrancer, July, 1863, as an illustration of 
how a crude original might be improved. (The version 
in S.P. has ventured in turn to "improve" on Neale's 
improvement, $477.) A final collection of Sequences and 
Hymns was published after the author's death (1866). Nor 



should we omit a passing tribute to Neale as a writer of 
carols. Some of those contained in his Carols for Christmas- 
tide and Eastertide (1852-3), and mostly based on mediaeval 
originals, have become classics of their kind. The best 
known of all is 'Good King Wenceslas' in this case an 
original composition. 

So vast an output, in addition to all his other literary 
work, is sufficient in itself to prove Neale's amazing 
facility. For this, of course, the usual price had to be paid. 
Compilers of hymnals have often resolved at the outset on 
"Neale pure and undefiled" : but they have seldom been 
able to maintain this attitude in praftice. His versification 
is for the most part easy and graceful, at least when 
iambic measures are concerned : for when he attempts 
such metres as sapphics and elegiacs he is much less 
successful. His power of finding rhymes is nothing less 
than astounding, and may well be the despair of those who 
attempt a task similar to his own. But he is always liable 
to sudden lapses and can be banal and even absurd on 
occasion. Among his manifold gifts a sense of humour was 
hardly included, at least where what is Catholic and 
mediaeval was concerned. This mediaevalism of his made 
him a good deal of a portent even in his own romantic 
age : and it is even more unsympathetic to our own. The 
reader of his Colletted Hymns will find not a little that will 
amuse rather than edify him. Yet if we judge him by his 
best work Neale's fame stands secure and in his own 
line supreme. 


Hitherto the two streams of Evangelical and Tradarian 
hymnody respectively have pursued their course apart. 
But we have now reached a period when they are to 
mingle in hymn-books of the modern "comprehensive" 
type. Here it was the High Churchmen who were to take 
the lead. So far as they were concerned, the fight for the 



recognition of hymnody had been won : and the New 
Version and the Old (apart from a few fragments of the 
former turned to other use) vanished henceforth into the 
limbo of things forgotten. All that remained was to solve 
the practical problem of evolving a scheme of hymnody 
which, while giving a due place to the ancient liturgical 
hymns of Christendom, should at the same time meet 
popular taste and requirements by including such 
elements from other sources as could be acclimatized in 
the "High Church" atmosphere. Even Neale himself was 
not so uncompromising as the plan of the Hymnal Noted 
might suggest. Not only did he add translations from the 
Greek service-books to those which he had already made 
from the Latin and compose hymns of his own, but in his 
article in the Christian Remembrancer of October, 1849, he 
expressly asserts that even the hymns of Dissenters are not 
to be entirely forbidden to Churchmen. It is true that he 
condemns most of them, and damns even the rest with 
faint praise. But their origin is not by itself to exclude 
them. Their acceptance or rejection must be determined 
"not on the bare simple ground that their authors did not 
hold the Catholic faith" but "by Convocation on their 
own merit or demerit" with, of course, such emenda- 
tion as might be made necessary by their often "heretical" 
character as they stood. 307 

As things turned out and no doubt fortunately 
Convocation had nothing to do with the matter. The 
immense development of hymnody in the second half of 
the nineteenth century was the result not of official action 
but of private enterprise. But the guiding idea behind it 
was very much the same as that suggested by Neale, only 
with a more generous treatment of non-Catholic material 
than Neale himself would probably have been prepared 
to endorse. Before, however, we attempt a sketch of "the 
spate of hymn-books" (to borrow Dr. Dearmer's phrase) 
which set in after 1850, it may be well to say something 



about certain elements included in them that have not 
yet been noticed in these pages. 

i . It will be convenient to mention first certain further 
translators of Latin and Greek hymns not so much 
because of their intrinsic importance as by way of com- 
pleting what has been already said on the subjecl:. Of these 
two figure here on the strength in each case of a well- 
known version of a single hymn W. J. Irons (1812-83), 
Prebendary of St. Paul's, and J. R. Woodford (1820-85), 
Bishop of Ely, translators of the Dies irae and Adoro te 
devote respectively. Another name is Robert Campbell 
(1814-68), a Scots advocate who was born a Presbyterian, 
became a devout member of the Episcopal Church of 
Scotland, and finally joined the Church of Rome in 1852. 
Two years before he had published a collection of Hymns 
and Anthems for use . . . in the diocese of St. Andrews, contain- 
ing a selection of his translations, along with a certain 
amount of other material. Of the translations the best 
known is the C.M. rendering of Chorus novae Hierusalem> 
'Ye choirs of new Jerusalem' ^139 *i25- Others are a 
second Easter hymn, 'At the Lamb's high feast we sing' 
*i27 fi28 and the hymn for Evangelists (a cento from 
.Adam of St. Vidor), 'Come, pure hearts, in sweetest 
measure' *434 though in the latter case only verses i, 2 
are his. The same collection also contained his beautiful 
hymn on the Angels, 'They come, GOD'S messengers of 
love' *424 t 2 4^ an original composition. Mention 
should also be made of Jackson Mason (1833-89) not 
to be confused, by the way, with the seventeenth-century 
J[ohn] Mason, who wrote 'How shall I sing Thy majesty'. 
He is of rather later date ; but may be included here for 
the sake of convenience. He was Vicar of Settle, Yorks, 
and contributed, besides original hymns, several trans- 
lations to the A.M. First Supplement of 1889, including 
two from Adam of St. Vidor, 'Come sing, ye choirs ex- 
ultant' *62i JI79 and 'In royal robes of splendour' *620. 



Among translators of Greek hymns Neale, of course, 
stands in a class entirely by himself. But we must not 
forget Keble's beautiful version of 0a>s ZXapov, 'Hail, 
gladdening Light' *i8, which was first published in the 
British Magazine in 1834, nor omit a passing tribute to 
A. W. Chatfield, who wrote 'Lord Jesus, think on me' 
*i85 f 77, and R. M. Moorsom (*4go, 641), though these 
are a little later than the date that we have reached. 

2. It was not Latin and Greek hymnody only, however, 
that was to be laid under contribution in the new hymnals. 
We have seen that in the Reformation period an attempt 
had been made to acclimatize some of the contemporary 
Lutheran hymns, but without permanent result. Two 
centuries later John Wesley successfully transplanted a 
number of the later Lutheran hymns of the Pietist type. 
But apart from these German hymnody remained a 
sealed book to English worshippers. The credit of unlock- 
ing its treasures belongs in the main to two ladies : Frances 
Cox (1812-97) and Catherine Winkworth (1829-78). The 
former published in 1841 her Sacred Hymns from the German, 
containing 49 hymns with their original texts. In the 
second edition of 1864 27 of these reappeared along with 
29 new ones. A.M. contains 4 of her versions, the best 
known being 'Jesus lives ! ' *i40 f 134 and 'Who are these 
like stars appearing' *427 J204. Concerning Miss Wink- 
worth Dr. Julian has said that "her translations have had 
more to do with the modern revival of the English use of 
German hymns than the versions of any other writer". 308 
She was a woman of remarkable ability, not only an 
excellent German scholar and a charming writer (her 
Christian Singers of Germany is a classic of its kind), but also 
an early pioneer on behalf of the higher education of 
women. Her translations were published in Lyra Germanica, 
of which the first series appeared in 1855 and the second 
in 1858. Of these translations A.M. contains 8 and E.H. 
9. The best known are : 'Now thank we all our GOD' 



f533, 'Christ the Lord is risen again' *i36 t I2 9 
'Praise to the Lord, the Almighty' *657 t536. 

Along with the words of the German hymns the chorale- 
melodies accompanying them also came into use a 
process encouraged by the interest in the music of J. S. 
Bach, which had its beginning in the first decade of the 
nineteenth century (Samuel Wesley, Charles's musician 
son, acling as chief pioneer) and was further stimulated 
by the enthusiasm of Mendelssohn on his visits to England. 
W. H. Havergal included a good many in his Old Church 
Psalmody (1847) : and they were still more fully repre- 
sented in Dr. Maurice's Choral Harmony of 1854 and 
(especially) in the Church Psalter and Hymn Book of the same 
year. The last book, edited (with Montgomery's assist- 
ance) by a Sheffield clergyman, William Mercer, had 
[Sir] John Goss (1800-80) as its musical editor and 
was used for the nave evening services at St. Paul's until 
supplanted by A.M. in iSyi. 309 But the most compre- 
hensive and scholarly adaptation of German chorales for 
English use is the Chorale Book for England (1863), in which 
Miss Winkworth collaborated with Sterndale Bennett and 
Otto Goldschmidt, the husband of the great Swedish 
singer Jenny Lind and founder of the Bach Choir. "This 
book," says Dr. Frere, "was for German hymnody what 
the Hymnal Noted was for old Latin hymnody. It was too 
much restricted in scope to become popular as a hymn- 
book ; but nevertheless it had great erTecV 31 

3. When to these treasures of earlier centuries trans- 
lated from various foreign tongues is added the vast mass 
of native material also inherited from the past, including 
the hymns of Watts, the Wesleys and the earlier Evan- 
gelicals, it is obvious that the compilers of the new 
hymnals had already a vast field from which to make their 
selection. But hymnody never stands still : and the genera- 
tion that witnessed the rise of the Oxford Movement had 
had its own contribution to make to the stock of English 
p 215 


original hymns. Even the Tractarians had not confined 
themselves to translating old hymns, but had written new 
ones as well. Newman, Isaac Williams, Gaswall and Neale 
have been already spoken of in this connection. But the 
outstanding figure is John Keble (1792-1866), the poet 
and saint who from his quiet Hampshire vicarage of 
Hursley set himself to rally what was left of the Tractarian 
party after the shattering defections of 1 845 and 1 850, and, 
along with his friend Pusey, did more than anyone else to 
save from utter shipwreck the Movement which he had 
inaugurated in 1833. It is true that, in exact analogy with 
the case of Prudentius, his most celebrated hymns are all 
fragments from the Christian Tear torn from their context : 
but this has not prevented them from winning an immense 
popularity in all English-speaking lands. Few compilers 
of hymnals would dream of omitting 'New every morning 
is the love' *4 J26o 31, 'Sun of my soul' *24 t 2 74 +55> 
'Blest are the pure in heart' *26i f37o 455, 'When GOD 
of old came down from heaven 5 *i54 t J 58 3 or even 'There 
is a book who runs may read' *i68 1 497 664, with its 
fine treatment of the sacramental aspect of Nature. To 
the hymns from this source may be added, 'Ave Maria! 
blessed Maid' f2i6. Besides the Christian Year Keble also 
wrote a metrical translation of the Psalms (1839) and 
Lyra Innocentium (1846) the latter a book about children 
rather than a book ./or children : but neither of these has 
been used with success as a source for hymns. In his later 
years Keble turned to hymn-writing proper and con- 
tributed to the Salisbury Hymn Book of 1857, edited by Earl 
Nelson, great-nephew of the Admiral. But by this time his 
powers were waning : and none of these hymns has won 
the fame of those already mentioned. The best known are 
the Rogation hymn, 'Lord in Thy name Thy servants 
plead' *i43 t r 4 t 1 ? 1 an d the wedding hymn, 'The 
voice that breath'd o'er Eden' *350 J348. 

Side by side with Keble and Newman as a writer of 



original hymns stands Frederick William Faber (1814- 
63) ; though his first volumes of hymns only appeared in 
1849, three years after he became a Roman Catholic. 
Like Newman, he became an Oratorian: and he 
founded the London branch of that congregation, which 
since 1854 has had its seat at the Brompton Oratory. 
Faber's Catholicism was of a far more emotional and full- 
blooded type than that of the austere and reserved New- 
man, who was often a good deal worried by his friend's 
"extravagances" : but for that very reason it had a 
stronger popular appeal. His temperament is reflecled in 
his hymns, which are a sort of Catholic counterpart of 
those of the Wesleys and of the Olney Hymns. Concerning 
the latter, Faber confessed in the preface to his Hymns 
that "they acled like a spell upon him for years, strong 
enough to be for long a counter-influence to very grave 
convictions, and even now to come back from time to time 
unbidden to the mind". His emotionalism not infre- 
quently degenerates into sentimentality : and some of his 
hymns, like C O Paradise, O Paradise' and 'Hark ! hark, 
my soul', when taken from their personal context, seem 
positively nauseating to many people to-day. But the bst 
of them, e.g. 'My GOD, how wonderful Thou art' *i6g 
f 441 581 and 'O come and mourn with me awhile' *i 14 
fin +140 are fine, moving hymns of their kind. 

Two other hymn- writers who passed through Tradlarian- 
ism to Roman Catholicism are Matthew Bridges (1800- 
93) and Henry Collins (1827-1919). The former, a layman, 
spent his later years in Canada. His best-known hymn is 
'Crown Him with many crowns' *304 fsSi. The latter 
was a clergyman who became a Roman Catholic in 1857 
and subsequently a Cistercian monk. In 1854 he pub- 
lished a collection of Hymns for Missions containing two 
contributions by himself the well-known 'Jesu, meek 
and lowly' *i88 f4i6 and 'Jesu, my Lord, my GOD, my 
All' *igi 1417. 



4. The Evangelical contribution to hymnody during 
the same period was not less important. Some of the best 
loved of English hymns, in facl, are from this source. 
Among them is what may almost certainly rank as the 
most popular hymn in the English language, 'Abide with 
me' *27 tS^S +437- Its author, Henry Francis Lyte (1793- 
1847), was a former scholar of Trinity College, Dublin, 
who was ordained in 1815 and some years afterwards 
underwent the experience of Evangelical "conversion". 
He was appointed in 1823 Perpetual Curate of Lower 
Brixham, Devon, where he remained till his death. Like 
Toplady, the author of 'Rock of ages', he was a consump- 
tive. In the last September of his life (as his daughter 
relates in the memoir prefaced to his Remains 31 1 ] he was 
about to leave England for a more genial climate when 

his family were surprised and almost alarmed at his announc- 
ing his intention of preaching once more to his people. His 
weakness, and the possible danger attending the effort, were 
urged to prevent it, but in vain. ... He did preach, . . . amid 
the breathless attention of his hearers. . . . He afterwards 
assisted at the administration of the Holy Eucharist, and 
though necessarily much exhausted . . .yet his friends had no 
reason to believe it had been hurtful to him. In the evening 
of the same day he placed in the hands of a near and dear 
relative the little hymn, 'Abide with me', with an air of his 
own composing. 

This has generally been regarded as implying that the 
hymn had been written just before, as an expression of the 
dying man's sense of helplessness and need of Divine 
strength. But there now seems reason to believe that it 
had aclually been written many years previously. In the 
Spectator for 061. 3, 1925, Dr. T. H. Bindley made the 
assertion that it was written in 1820 when 

Lyte, as a young clergyman, was staying with the Hores at 
Pole Hore, near Wexford. He went out to see an old friend, 
William Augustus Le Hunte, who lay dying, and who kept 
repeating the phrase, "Abide with me". After leaving the bed- 



side, Lyte wrote the hymn and gave a copy of it to Sir Francis 
Le Hunte, William's brother, among whose papers it re- 
mained. . . . These details were given me some years ago by 
Sir George Ruthven Le Hunte, grandson of William Augustus, 

and I have recently had them confirmed by members of his 
family. 3 12 

In any case the hymn was not originally intended as an 
evening hymn at all: the "eventide" in the first line 
clearly refers to the close of life's day, not to evening in the 
literal sense. Its immense popularity may be regarded as 
largely due to its melodious and eminently singable tune, 
written by W. H. Monk. It is often said to have been com- 
posed by him in ten minutes : 3 1 3 but this is probably only 
one of the innumerable legends that cluster round the 
origin of popular hymns. 

In 1834 Lyte published a volume entitled The Spirit of 
the Psalms, containing over 280 free paraphrases of 
individual psalms. From this are taken three well-known 
hymns : 'GoD of mercy, GOD of grace' *2i8 1395 Jiyo 
(ps. Ixv) ; 'Pleasant are Thy courts above' *240 "[469 
(ps. Ixxxiv) ; and his masterpiece, 'Praise, my soul, the 
King of heaven' *2g8 J47o 623 (ps. ciii), so magnifi- 
cently matched with Goss's great tune (first published in 
a minor collection of 1869). Another of his hymns is 
'When at Thy footstool, Lord, I bend' * 245 one of the 
most characteristically Evangelical of all Evangelical 

A contemporary of Lyte was Sir Robert Grant (1785- 
1838), who died when Governor of Bombay. His splendid 
C O worship the King' *i67 f466 J6i8, based on Kethe's 
version of Ps. civ, was first published in 1833. Repre- 
sentative of a later and considerably different type of 
Evangelicalism was Henry Alford (1810-71), a Fellow of 
Trinity, Cambridge, who became Dean of Canterbury in 
1857. He was a man of extraordinarily varied accomplish- 
ments and wrote a Commentary on the Bible that enjoyed 



immense reputation in its day. Opinion varies as to 
Alford's merits as a hymn-writer : but the man who wrote 
'Come, ye thankful people, come' *382 faSg 9 and 'Ten 
thousand times ten thousand' *222 1486 may at least 
claim to have known how to suit the popular taste. 

Side by side with these masculine names may be set two 
feminine ones Harriet Auber (1771-1862), author of 
'Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed' *207 fi57 182, 
and Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871), an invalid who com- 
posed an Invalid's Hymn Book, in which first appeared 
'Just as I am' *255 tS 1 ^ * 2 53 anc ^ 'Christian, seek not 
yet repose' *26g I374 467. 


The remarkable crop of new hymnals which marked 
the decade after 1850 emanated in the main, as we have 
said, from the High Church side. The Evangelicals 
already had their books ; though even here it was soon 
found necessary to discard some and to recast others. But 
for High Churchmen hymn-singing was a new luxury 
which could only be catered for by the production of 
entirely new books. At first, indeed, these were so 
numerous as to be positively an embarrassment. The year 
(1852) that saw the appearance of the first part of the 
Hymnal Noted gave birth as well to no less than three other 
hymn-books of a more comprehensive type. These were : 
A Hymnal for Use in the English Church, by the Rev. F. H. 
Murray, Rector of Chislehurst ; Hymns and Introits compiled 
for the use of the Collegiate Church ofCumbrae, by the Rev. G. 
Cosby White, then its Provost ; and The Church Hymn and 
Tune Book, edited by the Rev. W. J. Blew. The last had 
Dr. H. J. Gauntlett as its musical editor : and most of his 
well-known tunes first appeared in it. In 1853 followed 
the Church Hymnal, edited by the Rev. W. Cooke and the 
Rev. W. Denton, and in 1857 Earl Nelson's Salisbury 
Hymn Book already mentioned. 



All these hymnals embodied the same ideal of a book 
that should combine the ancient hymns of the Catholic 
Church with the best produces of more modern times. But 
for that very reason they could only be competitors and 
stand in one another's light. A project was therefore set on 
foot for pooling their resources and evolving a common 
book which, it was hoped, might not only secure the un- 
divided support of churches of a definitely High Church 
type but also gradually win its way on its merits into other 
churches as well. Such was the genesis of the most cele- 
brated and widely used of all Anglican hymnals, Hymns 
Ancient and Modern. 514 

The conceiver of the scheme was Mr Murray, who 
secured the co-operation of the Rev. Sir H. W. Baker, 
Vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire. Together they ap- 
proached Mr. Cosby White, and towards the end of 1857 
a small committee was formed to initiate the projecl. Next 
year the editors of several other hymn-books agreed to co- 
operate. In October an advertisement was inserted in the 
Guardian, intimating that "The Editors of several existing 
Hymnals, being engaged with others in the compilation 
of a Book which they hope may secure a more general 
acceptance from Churchmen, would be very thankful for 
any suggestions from persons interested in the matter." 
More than 200 clergymen replied : and a large com- 
mittee was at once formed and held its first meeting in 
January, 1859, with Sir H. W. Baker in the chair. Keble 
did not actually join the Committee : but he took great 
interest in the projecl and gave the advice : "If you wish 
to make a Hymn Book for the use of the Church, make it 

On Nov. 1 8, 1859, a small paper-covered book, con- 
taining 138 hymns, was issued "for temporary use and as 
a specimen still open to revision". The musical editor was 
Dr. William Henry Monk (1823-89), organist at King's 
College, London, who suggested the admirably appro- 



priate title "Hymns Ancient and Modern". The com- 
pleted book (known to-day as the "Original Edition") 
was published in 1861. Its significance has been thus 
characterized by Dr. Louis Benson, an American Congre- 
gationalist : "Its part in establishing, as it did, the type 
and tone of the representative Church of England 
Hymnody, and its influence on the Hymnody of other 
denominations, entitle its publication to rank as one of the 
great events in the Hymnody of the English-speaking 
Churches." sis 

The book contained 273 hymns, with accompanying 
tunes, and made full provision for the feasts and seasons 
of the Prayer Book. There were 132 translations of Latin 
hymns and 10 of German: the remainder were English 
hymns of all periods, nearly one-half being by living 
authors. These included Milman, Keble, Faber and 
Neale : but the largest contributor of all was the Chairman 
of the Committee, Sir Henry William Baker (1821-77), 
who was represented by 13 original hymns and 9 trans- 
lations from the Latin. A good deal of Baker's work for the 
book, now and later, was of the nature of pieces d* occasion 
written to fill a gap, and is unlikely therefore to endure. 
But 'The King of love my Shepherd is' *ig7 t4go 654 
and 'Lord, Thy word abideth' *243 1436 570 appear to 
have established themselves firmly. 'O praise ye the Lord' 
*3o8 351, too, deserves to survive, if only as a "carrier" 
for Sir Hubert Parry's noble tune, written for it much 
later as part of an anthem. 

Of the tunes in the Original Edition the great majority 
were old, but there were a certain number of new ones too. 
The largest contributors here were Monk himself (17), 
the Rev. John Bacchus Dykes (1823-76), then Precentor 
of Durham and later Vicar of St. Oswald's in that city (7), 
and Sir Frederick A. Gore Ouseley (1825-89), Professor 
of Music at Oxford (5). Of these Ouseley represented on 
the whole the staid, solid manner inherited from the 



better produces of the eighteenth century, while Monk 
stood midway between this and the new "Victorian" type 
of tune with its fluent, wistful melody and rather cloying 
harmony inspired by Mendelssohn and Spohr. In Dykes 
this new type stands forth full-blown. His style is to be 
seen at its best in the three famous tunes contributed by 
him to the 1861 book for 'Holy, Holy, Holy' *i6o, 'Jesu, 
Lover of my soul' * 193 and 'Eternal Father, strong to save' 
*37o; and at its weakest in two later insertions, 'How bright 
these glorious spirits shine' *438 and 'Hark, my soul, it is 
the Lord' *26o. Its merits and its defects alike recom- 
mended it to contemporary taste : and in the 1875 edition 
of the book Dykes's contribution had significantly risen to 
55 tunes. Not only so, but a host of imitators hastened to 
follow in his footsteps. It is the superabundance of this 
kind of tune that makes Hymns Ancient and Modern so 
characteristic of the epoch which produced it, and also 
renders it so vulnerable a target for contemporary criti- 
cism. On this subject more will be said in a later chapter. 
But it should be added here in justice to Dykes and his 
school that there are already signs of a tendency among 
competent musicians to qualify the harsh judgments of a 
generation ago, at least in regard to their more defensible 
productions. As Sir Walford Davies and Dr. Harvey 
Grace have pointed out in their book Music and Worship, 
these "Viclorian" tunes have at least the quality of "sing- 
ableness" in an eminent degree, and if their rhythm is un- 
enterprising, it is for that very reason a rhythm "without 
pitfalls for a congregation". 316 

That the book met a real need was shown by the re- 
markable success which it achieved from the beginning : 
350,000 copies of it were sold in the first three years. This 
success encouraged the promoters to expand it: and in 
1868 an Appendix was issued, raising the number of 
hymns to 386. In the additions "ancient" and "modern" 
were again mingled : but now the latter were by far the 



more numerous. The great bulk of the new hymns were by 
contemporaries. Newman's two famous hymns now 
appeared for the first time ; while Neale and Baker added 
largely to their share, the former's contribution including 
a number of his translations of Greek hymns. Of new 
writers the most important were Bishop Christopher 
Wordsworth of Lincoln (1807-85), who contributed 8 
hymns from his Holy Tear (1862), among them being 
'Alleluia ! Alleluia! hearts to heaven and voices raise 5 
*i37 fisy +150 and 'Hark the sound of holy voices' *436 
1 198 206 ; Professor William Bright (1824-1901), Canon 
of Christ Church, Oxford, author of 'Once, only once and 
once for all' *3 1 5 1327 and (later) of 'And now, O Father, 
mindful of the love' *3i6 1302 +261 ; and Cecil Frances 
Alexander (1823-95), wno contributed three hymns for 
children, including 'Once in royal David's city' *32g 
|6o5 +368 and 'There is a green hill far away' *332 |io6 
131. (Her other most notable hymn, 'All things bright 
and beautiful' *573 1587 444, did not appear until the 
First Supplement of 1889.) Another important addition 
is 'The Church's one foundation' *2i5 t4^9 +249, by the 
Rev. S. J. Stone (1839-1900), later Vicar of St. Paul's, 
Haggerston. Its familiar tune, 'Aurelia', by Dr. S. S. 
Wesley, was originally written for another collection as a 
setting of 'Jerusalem the golden'. As regards the music of 
the book in general, the element of novelty was even more 
striking here than in the case of the words, half of the tunes 
being printed for the first time. Dykes's contribution was 
largely increased : and other composers represented were 
Henry Smart, John Stainer and Joseph Barnby. 

The subsequent history of Hymns Ancient and Modern 
must be more briefly summarized. In 1875 the Original 
Edition with its Appendix was entirely recast, without, 
however, disturbing the fundamental basis of the book. 
There were a considerable number of omissions, many 
additions, and not a little revision and alteration of the 



existing material. Two names that now appear for the 
first time deserve mention : Frances Ridley Havergal 
(1836-79), a devout and accomplished Evangelical lady 
who wrote many hymns mostly of a highly subjedive 
type, of which 'I could not do without Thee' *i86 1572 
may serve as a specimen, and William Walsham How 
(1823-97), Re&or of Whittington, Salop, and later Bishop 
of Bedford and (1888) the first Bishop of Wakefield, whose 
contributions included his chef d'oeuvre Tor all the Saints' 
*437 f64i 202 and the Rogationtide intercession, 'To 
Thee, our GOD, we fly' *i42 J5^5- Barnby's popular 
setting of the former first appeared in the 1889 Supple- 
ment. It is vigorous and extremely singable, but has the 
fatal defecl (among others) of being in a different metre 
from the words! It is therefore being rightly supplanted 
more and more by Vaughan Williams's noble tune 'Sine 
nomine' 1641 202. Stanford's setting *437 iv is not less 
excellent, but perhaps less congregational. 

Fourteen years after the publication of the "Revised 
Edition" of 1875 the so-called "First Supplement" was 
issued, which added 165 hymns. It is notable for the 
inclusion of a large number of the hymns of Charles 
Wesley and other eighteenth-century writers. But a good 
deal of the material included (and especially of the music) 
was of inferior quality : and it is on the whole the weakest 
part of the book as it stands. In this respect it offers a 
conspicuous contrast to the "Second Supplement" of 
1916. But this will be spoken of in the next chapter. 

Great as was the success of Hymns Ancient and Modern 
from the start, it was none the less regarded with suspicion 
and dislike in many quarters, quite apart from the Evan- 
gelicals, who naturally abhorred it both for its origin and 
for much of its contents. Nowadays it has become so much 
the "moderate" hymnal par excellence that it is difficult to 
realize that there was a time when its use was often re- 
garded as a party-badge and an offence to sober Church- 



manship, and in some cases even led to serious disturb- 
ances. For those who eyed it askance a less dubious and 
provoking alternative was forthcoming in Church Hymns., 
which had its origin in a small collection issued in 1852 
and grew through successive revisions into the large book 
of 1871. Its leading compiler was John Ellerton (1826-93), 
a disciple of F, D. Maurice and from 1876 to 1884 Redor 
of Barnes. Ellerton was himself a hymn-writer of note. 
Among his hymns are two that are universally popular : 
'Saviour, again to Thy dear name we raise' *3i f 273 53 
and 'The day Thou gavest' *477 f 277 56. The musical 
edition of 1874 was under the care of Sir Arthur Sullivan, 
who contributed to it many tunes of his own, including 
the famous and, as many think, exceedingly vulgar 
'St. Gertrude' for the Rev. S. Baring Gould's hearty pro- 
cessional (originally written in 1865 for a Sunday School 
feast at Horbury, Yorks), 'Onward, Christian soldiers' 
*39i f 643 +397. Sullivan's share in the book combined 
with its "average" Church tone to win for it much 
success, and for a long time it was the only seriqus rival to 
Hymns A. and M. Another hymnal representing a similar 
moderate standpoint was the Church of England Hymn 
Book (1880), edited by Prebendary Godfrey Thring. It 
had considerable literary merits ; but never attained 
to wide use. 

But if for many Hymns A. and M. was too "Catholic", 
there were others for whom it was not "Catholic" enough. 
Hence the emergence of a number of hymnals framed on 
similar lines but in such a fashion as to obviate this re- 
proach. The Hymnal Noted was gradually expanded by 
the addition of a large and very miscellaneous Appendix, 
and later of a Supplement as well. Another book was 
the People's Hymnal ( 1 867) , edited by Dr. Littledale. But the 
most complete collection of this kind was the Hymnary 
(1870), edited by Neale's old associate, Benjamin Webb, 
with the assistance of Canon W. Cooke. It is specially rich 



in translations from the Latin, with a preference for the 
hymns of Sarum Use. On the literary side it was rather an 
austere and forbidding affair : but this was to some extent 
compensated for by the floridity of its music, which was 
edited by [Sir] Joseph Barnby, who had made a great 
reputation through the excellence of the musical services 
at Webb's church, St. Andrew's, Wells Street. Among the 
musicians who contributed was Gounod : and Barnby 
himself, a keen disciple of the French musician, was 
copiously represented. His tunes were greatly admired in 
their day : but their luscious and chromatic character 
makes them displeasing now to critical ears. Along with 
these hymnals proper should be mentioned two books 
designed to make the fullest possible provision for Eucha- 
ristic worship the Eucharistic Hymnal (1877) and the 
Altar Hymnal (1884). 

At the opposite extreme to those who used these books 
stood the Evangelicals. These, for all their acute dis- 
approval of Hymns A. and M., were unable to resist the 
influence of the ideal for which it stood. More and more 
the old collections of "Psalms and Hymns" tended to dis- 
appear and to give place to "hymn-books" (in the strict 
sense) of the new comprehensive type. Of these the best 
and most important, destined increasingly to supplant the 
others, was the Hymnal Companion, first issued in 1870 
under the editorship of Edward Henry Bickersteth (1825- 
1906), later Bishop of Exeter, and the author of 'Peace, 
perfect peace' *537 1468. It was based on a careful study 
of already existing hymnals, and, apart from its inevitable 
distrust of material from "Catholic" sources, represented 
a wide area of choice. Its texts, as Julian remarks, are 
admirably pure ; even though the editor had the temerity 
to add an extra verse to Newman's 'Lead, kindly light'. 
But its use to-day is almost entirely restricted to churches 
of the most marked Evangelical type. 

In fad, just as Hymns A. and M. set the pattern of all the 



hymnals that have been mentioned, so in the long run it 
was to drive them almost entirely out of the field and to 
garner within itself most of their contents that had been 
found by experience to be worth keeping. For this reason, 
as well as for lack of space, it seems unnecessary to go into 
further details concerning these books, which in any case 
were only the most conspicuous and representative among 
the vast crowd of hymn-books of every kind in which the 
unexampled activity of what may be called the "experi- 
mental" period of English hymnal-making found ex- 




THE close of the nineteenth century saw the success 
of Hymns Ancient and Modern at its apogee. It had to a 
large extent vanquished its older rivals ; while the 
younger rivals that were soon to challenge, without 
destroying, its supremacy had not yet appeared upon the 
field. It is indeed appropriate that the end of the Victorian 
age should be specially associated in English hymnody 
with a book so intensely characteristic of that age alike 
in its strength and in its weakness as the Revised 
Edition with the Supplement of 1889. In its combination 
of the sober yet definite Churchmanship of the Traclarians 
with the individualistic and somewhat sentimental type 
of personal religion that was favoured by Churchmen and 
Nonconformists alike in the Viclorian age, it reflected 
faithfully the Anglican ethos at a period when the Estab- 
lished Church was perhaps a more influential spiritualforce 
in the life of the nation than it has ever been. Its music, 
or at least the contemporary element in it, was not less 
characteristic. Someone has described the music of Elgar, 
the supreme English composer of the turn of the century, 
as "the sublimation of an Ancient and Modern hymn-tune" : 
and there is at least a measure of truth in the epigram. 

But already for some time there had been signs that the 
maintenance of the book's proud position could not be 
taken for granted. The general public might cling to its 
favourite, as indeed it largely continues to do to this day. 
But in circles less dominated by custom and association a 



more critical spirit was at work. It was not denied that 
both the general scheme of the book and much of its con- 
tents were excellent. But it was felt no less that it con- 
tained a good deal of "dead wood" that had failed to 
justify itself in practice. This criticism applied more par- 
ticularly to the work of contemporary writers, much of 
which bore signs of having been "written to order" 
because no suitable material of the kind required was 
already in existence. On the other hand, the compilers (it 
was objected) had failed to explore thoroughly the sources 
of English hymnody : and many hymns that deserved to 
be included were absent. In some ways, too, the book had 
failed to keep pace with the best religious thought of the 
age. Certain aspects of Christianity were over-emphasized ; 
while others which were assuming a growing importance 
were hardly represented at all. In particular, there seemed 
to be little reference to those social aspects of the Christian 
message which such great teachers as Maurice, Kingsley 
and Westcott had emphasized as against the excessive 
individualism of the old-fashioned conception of it. 

The music was even more criticized than the words. In 
the decades before 1890 creative music in England had 
been at a low ebb. But now the "Renaissance of English 
music" had begun under the leadership of such gifted and 
scholarly musicians as Parry and Stanford : and with it 
came a change in the standards of educated musical taste. 
Mendelssohn, Spohr and Gounod toppled from their 
thrones, and a more austere and intellectual style came to 
be preferred. Thus the musical atmosphere that had en- 
gendered the Vidlorian hymn-tune had grown stale : and 
those who had emancipated themselves from it eyed its 
produds askance. Moreover, the classical hymn-melodies 
were becoming better known to musicians : and by com- 
parison Dykes and Stainer and Barnby seemed to be very 
"small beer". This new critical attitude found distin- 
guished expression in Robert Bridges's essay, A Practical 



Discourse on some Principles of Hymn-singing, which appeared 
in 1899. The publication in the same year of his Tattendon 
Hymnal, containing "100 hymns with their music, chosen 
for a village choir" and designed to "show what sort of a 
hymnal might be made on my principles", 317 added 
example to precept. 

These various considerations would in any case have 
led those responsible for Hymns A. and M. to face the 
necessity of thoroughly overhauling it at least in time. 
The history of the book proves that they had never 
claimed finality for their work. But, quite apart from this, 
a situation had already arisen that appeared to leave them 
no option in the matter. 318 In 1892 a committee of the 
Convocation of Canterbury made the formal suggestion 
that the next revision at Hymns A. andM. should be under- 
taken, not by the Proprietors alone, but by two committees 
appointed by the Convocations of Canterbury and York 
respectively, acting in consultation with them. The book 
was to retain its existing title : but after the revision it 
should become the property of the Convocations or of 
some body which they approved. The Proprietors very 
naturally refused to accept these sweeping suggestions; 
though they expressed their willingness to allow their 
book to be used in drawing up any hymnal which the 
Convocations should put forth by authority. Eventually 
the idea of a hymnal authorized by Convocation was 
dropped : but the Proprietors felt themselves pledged to 
undertake the revision of their book themselves. The work 
went on for ten years from 1894 to 1904. 

The "New Edition" (as it is called) which made its 
appearance in the latter year was in every way a great 
advance on the Old. Behind it lay an immense amount of 
research, bringing to light a large amount of material that 
had hitherto been hidden from view. Some idea of the 
learning and scholarship involved in this research may be 
gauged from the Historical Edition of Hymns Ancient and 

Q, 231 


Modern, which (it should be noted) takes as its text for 
commentary the 1904 book and not that generally used. 
It was published in 1909; and though issued anony- 
mously was the work of Dr. Frere. It is invaluable to all 
serious students of hymnody, and its stores have been 
freely drawn upon by subsequent compilers of hymnals, 
like the 1904 book itself. In the latter many new hymns 
and tunes of all periods were included : and the texts of 
those that had already appeared were brought much 
closer to those of the originals. A considerable, number of 
the hymns in the earlier edition were omitted : and in 
introducing new material the compilers (among whom 
that accomplished scholar and theologian, Dr. A. J. 
Mason, was specially prominent) showed themselves con- 
siderably more exacting than their predecessors had been. 
On the musical side much assistance was received from 
[Sir] Charles Stanford (1852-1 924) and Sir Hubert Parry 
(1848-1918). Both made several valuable contributions, 
some of which have been already mentioned. A feature 
of the book was a full complement of the ancient Sarum 
Office Hymns for the seasons and most important festivals 
with their proper tunes ; while among the melodies intro- 
duced for the first time were not a few fine examples by 
Bourgeois and Gibbons and some of the best of the English 
eighteenth-century tunes which had passed into disuse. 
Many of these melodies have achieved wide use and 
popularity since. 

Unhappily the fortune of the new book was not equal 
to its deserts. It was, in facl, a colossal failure : and the 
unfortunate Proprietors, in addition to an immense loss of 
time and trouble, found themselves saddled with a huge 
financial loss as well. The 1904 Hymns A. and M. has never 
been permanently taken up anywhere. The great mass of 
Churchgoers clung to the book to which they had become 
accustomed, and especially resented the idea that they 
should provide themselves with substitutes for the hymn- 



books which they already possessed. It was found, too, on 
examination that not a few of their "favourites" had been 
omitted : and the changing of the familiar numeration 
was also very unpopular. To discover that 'Abide with 
me' was no longer 'Hymn 27' or 'Jesu, Lover of my soul' 
'Hymn 193' was desolating ! In addition, the book had a 
thoroughly bad "press" in the more widely read journals. 
The most widely read of all leaped in particular on the 
compilers' conscientious but not very prudent restoration 
of Charles Wesley's own text in line i of 'Hymn 60', 'Hark, 
how all the welkin rings'. The public laughed long and 
loud : and it is hardly an exaggeration to say that 'the 
welkin 5 gave the final death-blow to the 1904 book. 

In the face of so disastrous a shipwreck all that could be 
done was to gather up the fragments and use them in 
another way. Such was the objecl; of the "Second Supple- 
ment" appended to the old book in 1916. The obvious 
drawback to this expedient was that it meant that the 
latter remained in statu quo, burdened with all the inferior 
stuff which the compilers had sought to get rid of. But it 
was the best that could be done in the circumstances. The 
Second Supplement as originally issued was a separate 
volume and fell into two sections. The first section added 
161 new hymns with accompanying tunes, making 779 
in all. The second provided better tunes (mostly old ones) 
as alternatives to those in the old book which were felt 
to be unworthy of their place. The material in both 
parts was largely drawn from the 1904 book: but 
there was a good deal of entirely new material as well 
both words and music. On its musical side the standard is 
particularly high. In addition to many fine melodies 
drawn from earlier periods, considerable use was made of 
the beautiful and hitherto strangely neglecled tunes by 
the eminent Church musician, Samuel Sebastian Wesley 
(1810-76), included by him in a collection published in 
1872 with the title of The European Psalmist. Several of the 



tunes inserted were settings of hymns by the composer's 
grandfather, Charles Wesley. 

The original form of the Second Supplement was an 
inconvenient arrangement that could obviously only be 
temporary. In 1922 it was incorporated with the main 
body of the book and the whole collection was reset in a 
single volume. The alternative tunes provided for the 
sections of 1875 and 1889 were inserted in their proper 
places with the hymns to which they belonged : and the 
new hymns and tunes added in 1916 were bound in at the 
end. This is the "Standard Edition" the sole current 
form of Hymns A. and M. But the Second Supplement, 
which undeniably adds so much to the worth of the book, 
is still strangely neglected in many churches that use it. 
It is there ready to hand : but its contents are little known. 
It is this situation which may partly explain the curious 
persistence with which most critics of Hymns A. and M. 
ignore the existence of the Second Supplement and 
denounce it as a purely "Viftorian hymn-book" that has 
never shown signs of repentance. 

Before leaving the subjecl of Hymns A. and M, mention 
should be made of a further venture of those responsible 
for it the Plainsong Hymn Book, issued in 1932. This con- 
tains 164 hymns accompanied by a rather larger number 
of plainsong melodies, and including a complete cycle of 
representative Sarum Office Hymns. Much of the material 
is new, both words and tunes. The latter are specially im- 
portant and interesting, and represent the fruits of a life- 
time's study and research by the compiler, Dr. Frere. About 
half of the tunes had appeared in his Plainsong Hymn 
Melodies and Sequences, first published by the Plainsong and 
Mediaeval Music Society in 1896 (4th edn. 1920) : the 
rest had not been published before. They are of all dates 
down to the eighteenth century : and many of them are 
culled direct from MSS. in the libraries of England and 
the Continent. Like the 1904 Hymns A. and M., the book 



has failed to win the attention and use that it deserves, at 
least as yet. But it is, and is likely to remain, by far the 
largest and most comprehensive collection of plainsong 
hymns available for English Ghurchpeople. 


The failure of the 1904 revision was the price paid for 
the popularity of the old Hymns A. and M. The great mass 
of Ghurchpeople had turned a deaf ear to the criticisms of 
the minority and shown that they "hated to be reformed". 
But the minority was still there, as were the patent weak- 
nesses of Hymns A. and M. in its unreformed state still in 
general use. It seemed likely, too, that the future would 
lie with the critics rather than with the conservatives. The 
twentieth century had arrived : and with it the reaction 
against "Vi&orianism" had begun and new ideas were 
everywhere in the air. Thus the times were propitious for 
the appearance of a new hymn-book that should corre- 
spond with the ideals and taste of the new age. Such a 
book must expecl: to make its way slowly, in view of the 
vis inertiae which always plays so great a part in Church 
affairs and had already defeated the revisers of Hymns 
A. and M. But it would have influential backing, which 
might be relied upon to grow still stronger in process of 

Even before the revised Hymns A. and M. made its 
appearance a potential candidate had arrived in the 
shape of the revised edition of the S.P.G.K. Church Hymns 
(1903). Here, too, there was a notable advance both in 
the selection of hymns and tunes and in the purity of the 
texts. But the book was, after all, only a new form of an 
old book which had always been overshadowed by a more 
successful rival : and in this and other ways it lacked the 
charm of novelty. Moreover, its very moderate tone made 



little appeal to Anglo-Catholics, who were growing 
rapidly in numbers and importance and, so far at least as 
a large and adive sedion of them was concerned, were 
adopting a "progressive" outlook on things in general 
very different from the cautious traditionalism of the old 
Tradarians and their successors. 

It was from this section of the Anglo- Catholics that the 
English Hymnal (1906) was to proceed the most for- 
midable rival that Hymns A. and M. has as yet had to face. 
At the same time its compilers were careful to deny any 
propagandist intent. Its preface states expressly that "it is 
not a party book . . . but an attempt to combine . . . the 
worthiest expressions of all that lies within the Christian 
Creed, from those 'ancient Fathers' who were the earliest 
hymn- writers down to contemporary exponents of modern 
aspirations and ideals". The book is "offered to all broad- 
minded men". These disclaimers, however, did not 
wholly succeed in carrying convidion in view of the 
decidedly "Catholic" tone of many of the contents of the 
book, with their high sacramental dodrine and bold 
resort to prayers for the dead and even the "invocation of 
saints". Certain leading bishops frowned on the English 
Hymnal, and even forbade its use in their dioceses. 
Objedion was particularly taken to certain appeals for 
the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. The difficulty was 
solved in 1907 by an "abridged edition" in which 5 
hymns were altered and 4 omitted altogether. 

If the English Hymnal was and remains too "Catholic" 
for many tastes, it is admirably "catholic" in the other 
sense of that obliging word. There is a complete set of the 
Sarum Office Hymns for the seasons, for the Common of 
Saints and for the Proper of the most important individual 
saints. Many of the translations of these hymns were 
specially made for the book and are a great improvement 
on those which had appeared in the earlier Anglo- 
Catholic hymnals. Greek hymnody and German con- 



tribute not a few examples, along with the seventeenth 
century Latin hymns from the French Breviaries. As 
regards hymns of English origin, all periods are well and 
worthily represented. To a large extent the selection is 
identical with that found in Hymns A. and M. : but the 
compilers were free to get rid of most of the inferior 
Victorian hymns which still unduly cumber the older 
book, and at the same time added a large number of 
English hymns of all periods that had not found a place 
there. Many of these additions have been already com- 
mented on in earlier chapters. They include two classes 
that are specially worthy of note. The first of these con- 
sists of 10 of the fine versions of Latin and Greek and 
German originals made by the late Poet Laureate Robert 
Bridges (1844-1930) for the Tattendon Hymnal, together 
with 3 more or less original compositions from the same 
accomplished hand. The second is a group of hymns of 
American origin, some of which have already won wide 
and deserved popularity. We may specially mention 'Once 
to every man and nation' 1563, an extensively altered 
cento (the 5 long lines in each verse of the original are 
even reduced to 8 half-lines) of a poem by the distin- 
guished American man of letters, James Russell Lowell 
(1819-91), written in 1845 in the anti-slavery interest at 
the time of the war between the United States and 
Mexico ; 'City of GOD, how broad and fair' t375> by 
Samuel Johnson (1822-82) ; 'Thy kingdom come ! on 
bended knee' 1504 and 'O Thou in all Thy might so far' 
[463, by Frederick L. Hosmer (1840-1929) ; 'Lord of all 
being, throned afar' 1434? by tne essayist and poet, 
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) ; and 'Jesus, these eyes 
have never seen' J42I, by Ray Palmer (1808-87). The 
first four of these authors were Unitarians, the last a Con- 
gregationalist. Their hymns thus exhibit a broadly 
theistic and "non-ecclesiastical" religious outlook which 
is no doubt partly the secret of the strong appeal that 



they make to many minds in the present age. In addition, 
the first three of the hymns that we have mentioned 
emphasize the national and social bearings of the Chris- 
tian message that had been inadequately represented in 
previous Church hymnals. Three other hymns in E.H. 
are notable as having a similar significance : the "Re- 
cessional" of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), written on 
the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 
1897, 'Goc of our fathers, known of old' J558 ; C O GOD of 
earth and altar 5 1562, by Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874- 
1936) ; and 'Judge eternal, throned in splendour' 1423, 
by the celebrated preacher, Henry Scott Holland (1847- 
1918), Canon of St. Paul's and later Regius Professor of 
Divinity at Oxford. 

The music of the English Hymnal exhibits the same fine 
comprehensiveness as the words. On this side the book 
had the immense advantage of being under the editorship 
of the most distinguished of living English musicians, 
Dr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (b. 1872). He himself con- 
tributed a number of tunes, of which the now famous 
'Sine Nomine' 1641 and the beautiful 'Down Ampney' 
f 152 stand in the first rank of modern hymn-tunes. His 
share was further increased when the music was revised 
in 1933 notably by the stately 'King's Weston' J368, 
which had already appeared in Songs of Praise. Other 
important contributors were the brothers Martin Shaw 
(b. 1876) and Geoffrey Shaw (b. 1879). There was a 
splendid garnering of old tunes of all periods, many of 
which (it is only fair to say) had already made their 
appearance in the 1904 revision of Hymns A. and M. The 
Office Hymns were in each case accompanied by their 
plainsong melodies, with modern tunes as alternatives. 
The former were admirably reset in the 1933 revision by 
Mr. J. H. Arnold in accordance with the principles now 
generally commended by experts. In regard to tunes of 
later date the English Hymnal broke new ground in three 



directions in particular. First, in its inclusion of a number 
of the so-called "church melodies" which sprang up in 
France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to pro- 
vide settings in measured form in place of the unmeasured 
plainsong melodies. These tunes have often a fine sweeping 
quality that makes them attractive and popular, though 
some of them are liable to be obnoxious to purists as "de- 
based" or "bastard" plainsong. The second class of new 
material consists of a number of the tunes produced in 
Methodist circles in Wales in the nineteenth century ; and 
the third of a larger collection of entirely new tunes based 
on English secular folk-songs. Both of these have been a 
good deal criticized. The Welsh tunes are often very dull : 
their form, in particular, is exceedingly monotonous, with 
its continual repetition of the same material (of four 
sections of each tune three are normally the same) and its 
incessant return to the "tonic". The English folk-tunes, 
too, though often ^beautiful in themselves, are not always 
appropriate to the atmosphere of a church and, reflecting 
as they do a "craze" of the period that converted them to 
new use, may not prove to wear very well. A further weak- 
ness of the English Hymnal on its musical side is its inability 
to resist the subtle temptation to present its German 
chorales in the elaborately harmonized versions of J. S. 
Bach. These are, of course, superb in themselves : but they 
were never intended, nor are they in the least suitable, 
for use in alliance with hymns containing a considerable 
number of verses. Nor is the exceedingly slow tempo 
adopted in Germany in singing chorales (under quite 
different conditions) consonant with modern English habit 
or preference. The arrangement, e.g., of 'Forty days and 
forty nights' ^73 would weary any congregation to death. 
The compilers would have done well to heed Bridges's 
dictum already quoted (p. 101). If any German chorale 
is not suitable for use as an English hymn-tune, it should 
not be used for the purpose at all. 



These, however, are but incidental blemishes in a 
hymnal which is for the most part admirable both in 
words and music. Its obvious excellences were certain to 
win for it enthusiastic approval in quarters which cared 
seriously about the quality of our Church song : and its 
use and popularity have steadily grown, especially in 
churches with congregations of the more educated type. 
In the early days of its existence, too, its claim to recog- 
nition as against the only current form of Hymns A. and M. 
was greatly enhanced by the fad: that the latter was still 
in its unreformed "Vidorian" state, owing to the com- 
plete failure of the 1904 revision. But the publication 
of the Second Supplement in 1916 has enormously 
strengthened the position of the older hymnal in this 
resped. We may add, further, that there are signs at 
present of a more critical attitude towards the English 
Hymnal among competent musicians than was apparent 
at first a tendency to stress its defeds as well as its 
qualities. This fad should be borne in mind by those who 
are zealous for hymnal reform, but are without much 
equipment for forming reliable artistic judgments for 
themselves. It is very doubtful, too, whether the musical 
revision undertaken in 1933 was in all respeds an im- 

In the enrichment of their book, particularly on its 
musical side, the compilers of the English Hymnal were able 
to draw not only on the admirable pioneer work of those 
responsible for the 1904 revision of Hymns A. and M.> but 
also on the extremely valuable colledion published (also 
in 1904) by the Rev. G. R. Woodward with the title Songs 
of Syon. The music and the words were at first issued 
separately. The former was described by the editor as 
representing "an honest endeavour to raise the standard 
of English taste, by rescuing from oblivion some of the 
finest melodies of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries". These were "presented in their primitive in- 



tegrity and, where possible, with the original harmony". 
The accompanying words edition was described on the 
title page as "a collection of hymns and sacred poems 
mostly translated from ancient Greek, Latin and German 
sources". It was designed to furnish words to fit the melo- 
dies provided, most of which were in unusual metres, and 
so to make it possible to use them. It included some 50 
examples from the accomplished hand of the editor him- 
self both translations (from all three languages) and 
original compositions. Woodward, like his greatly 
admired Neale, had a curiously mediaeval cast of mind, 
but with a lighter literary touch and a charming quaint- 
ness of language and fancy that borders at times on the 
fantastic a quality even more evident in the carols that 
he translated or wrote for the Cowley Carol Book and other 
collections edited by him. "Compiled" (as its preface is 
careful to point out) "for the faithful", not for "the 
inquirers after truth", Songs of Syon was further "intended 
not to compete with existing hymnals but only to supple- 
ment them". It thus made no claim to be a complete 
hymn-book in itself: its importance lies in its value 
as a source-book. Four years later (in 1908) another col- 
lection of admirable literary and musical quality but with 
a similarly limited appeal was issued as the Oxford Hymn 
Book under the joint editorship of Dr. T. B. Strong, then 
Dean of Christ Church, and Dr. Basil Harwood. Its pre- 
face expressly disclaims any intention to provide a com- 
pletely comprehensive hymn-book : the book seeks rather 
to "make a more restricted selection of those hymns which 
appear to satisfy a certain standard and to be content 
with a more approximate application of them to particular 


The hymnals that have been spoken of hitherto were 
all definitely Church books intended for use by Church- 
people. The other Christian denominations had their own 
books, framed to meet their own needs and points of view. 



Until recently this principle, "To every Christian body its 
own hymn-book," was taken for granted. But after the 
Great War the circumstances seemed propitious to the 
success of a book that should transcend denominational 
differences and appeal to all English-speaking Christians. 
The war had done much to familiarize men's minds with 
the idea of an undogmatic, unseclarian Christianity, 
which was already the theoretic basis of the religious 
instruction given in the State-provided schools, and which 
in the post-war years was to find expression in Brother- 
hoods, Guilds and similar gatherings. Moreover, hymn- 
books were urgently needed for the schools, secondary and 
higher elementary, that were developing so rapidly all 
over the country : and these hymn-books, like the schools 
themselves, must be free from denominational bias. The 
tendency to transcend sectarian differences found an echo 
within the Church of England itself in an active and influ- 
ential section which was "Modernist" in its outlook and, 
as such, inclined to sit lightly to the dogmatic affirmations 
of traditional Christianity. Christianity, it was urged, is 
not a body of theological beliefs, but an attitude of mind 
and heart that seeks to mould the life not only of the 
individual but of the nation and of human society as a 
whole in accordance with the spirit of Jesus Christ. In 
allegiance to that spirit all men of goodwill may be one, 
not only the members of all the Christian denominations 
but even those who are unable to accept ex animo the 
historic Creeds of the Church. 

Such, roughly speaking, were the ideas that inspired the 
production of Songs of Praise, the most important addition 
to the long list of English hymn-books since the English 
Hymnal, and one that strikes out an entirely new line. It is 
not a Church hymn-book, but is designed for use by 
Christians of all denominations and even (at least in a 
great part of it) by those who would hesitate to call them- 
selves Christians at all. Its preface expressly claims for it 



a "national" character and suitability not for public 
worship only but also "for schools, leclure meetings and 
other public gatherings". 

Its editor, Dr. Percy Dearmer (1867-1936), had played 
a leading part in the compilation of the Anglo- Catholic 
English Hymnal some twenty years before. But in the 
interval his religious position had undergone a marked 
change. His Anglo-Catholicism had always been of the 
liberal and progressive sort, with a strong admixture of 
Christian Socialism. But now he had ceased to be an 
Anglo-Catholic altogether and ranked as a Modernist of 
an advanced type. A man of great ability and capacity for 
work, with a wide and cultivated knowledge of both 
literature and art, and at the same time singularly sensi- 
tive to every current of contemporary "progressive" 
thought, he was eminently fitted for editing a hymn-book 
on the lines which he proposed. Not only did he edit Songs 
of Praise but he also embarked on a campaign in its behalf 
which erred if at all on the side of excessive zeal. The book 
received a warm welcome from educational authorities in 
many parts of the country : and it was also taken up with 
enthusiasm by the authorities of the great new cathedral 
at Liverpool, who were entirely in sympathy with the 
ideals that inspired it. 

Even those who do not share that sympathy will be 
forced to admit that Songs of Praise is a remarkable achieve- 
ment and one likely to have a powerful influence on the 
English hymnody of the future. It has made available 
many fine specimens of English religious poetry of all 
periods that had not hitherto found a place in our hymn- 
books with a special stress (as we might anticipate) on 
that element of "social service" which had already figured 
to some extent in the English Hymnal and had done much 
to commend that book to many who had little sympathy 
with it on its Anglo- Catholic side. In regard to many of 
these additions it may be doubted whether they are really 



suited for use as hymns. The editor has not always borne in 
mind the distinction between a hymn and a religious 
poem. Some of them, too, would seem to be pantheistic 
rather than Christian in outlook. But we must bear in 
mind the public for which the book is primarily intended 
a public very different from the congregation of the 
ordinary parish church. Nor can it be denied that not a 
few of these poems do make admirable hymns, of which 
all future compilers of hymn-books will be forced to take 
notice. A number of these have been already mentioned 
in previous chapters of this book. On the musical side, too, 
Songs of Praise has introduced a good deal of valuable 
material retrieved from the past, in addition to much that 
had already figured in the English Hymnal and the Second 
Supplement of Hymns A. and M. Some, however, will be 
of opinion that, as in the case of the former of these books, 
an unduly large place has been given to Welsh Methodist 
tunes and to tunes adapted from English folk-songs, as 
well as to the often rather banal and vulgar products of 
English Methodism in the late eighteenth and early nine- 
teenth centuries. On the other hand, the "Victorian" 
hymn-tune (in regard to which Dr. Dearmer entertained 
a prejudice which almost amounted to an obsession) is as 
far as possible eliminated altogether. 

In addition to these "new-old" elements Songs of Praise 
also includes a large amount of entirely new material, 
both words and music, the work of contemporary writers 
and musicians. Among the former a prominent place is 
held by Dr. Dearmer himself, who, like other hymnal com- 
pilers before him, does not seem to have been always 
sufficiently on his guard against the very human prejudice 
of an author in favour of his own work. Some, too, of 
the classic hymns of Christendom are more or less recast 
in order to bring them into line with the "Modernist" 
standpoint. A noteworthy feature of the book is the 
"Proper of Saints" section, in which a gallant if not 



altogether successful attempt is made to solve a standing 
problem by providing a series of hyrnns which are mostly 
new compositions specially written by various writers. 
Among the composers of new tunes the two musical 
editors, Dr. Vaughan Williams and Dr. Martin Shaw, 
stand out conspicuous. It should be added that the book 
was enlarged and completely recast in 1931, when much 
new material was introduced and the total number of its 
contents was raised from 467 to 703. 

The scope and purpose of Songs of Praise set it (stricHy 
speaking) outside the limits of this book : but, as it has 
already achieved a fair currency in Anglican churches 
and is certain to have much influence in the future on 
Anglican hymnals .proper, it has been thought necessary 
to say something about it. On the question of its merits 
and defects the present writer would prefer to add nothing 
to the little that he has already said. It is admittedly an 
experimental book, novel in its plan, challenging in its 
outlook and containing much entirely new and untried 
material. As to the value of this last for its purpose only 
posterity can judge : and no attempt is made here to don 
the prophet's mantle and anticipate the verdict. The book 
is as completely typical of the age which produced it as 
was the Victorian version of Hymns A. and M. : and no 
doubt in due course of time it will have to encounter pre- 
cisely the same sharp fire of criticism to which its cham- 
pions have subjected the older book. We may safely affirm, 
however, that both books contain much that will prove to 
be of permanent value ; and that each will be regarded a 
century hence as epoch-making in its own way. 




SO far as individual hymns are concerned, the account 
given in the preceding chapters of Christian hymnody 
throughout the ages has been mainly confined to 
those permanently valuable products of every age which 
have become available for the use of English Christians in 
our own, either in their (more or less) original form or in 
translations. A complete account of the whole output of 
hymn-writing since the Church began is impossible : and 
even if it were possible it would not be worth attempting. 
Dr. Bridges has spoken of "thatt most depressing of all 
books ever compiled by the groaning creatur, Julian's 
hymn-dictionary". 319 This judgment is not very 
graciously expressed : for Julian's great work is a monu- 
ment of learning and research and is indispensable to 
every student. But it is certainly "depressing" in the sense 
which Bridges, of course, intended that it contains 
notices of innumerable hymns which few students re- 
member or want to remember, and more particularly of 
hymns that had a transient currency in the less educated 
religious circles of England and America in the second 
half of the nineteenth century. Even so it only deals with 
a fraction of what might have figured in its pages. Time, 
on the whole, is a sound critic in hymnody as in other 
matters : those hymns survive that deserve to survive. The 
vogue of the moment is an extremely unsafe guide : but if 
a hymn can still win love and admiration after several 
centuries and can even surmount (as in many cases) the 
serious handicap of translation, we may be fairly certain 



that there is something about it worth keeping. Nor will 
a critical literary sense usually find much ground for 
serious quarrel with this verdicl, if the limitations of what 
constitutes a hymn are borne in mind. It seems fair to say 
that at least the great majority of the hymns mentioned in 
the preceding pages can make a good claim to inclusion 
in any hymnal that purports to represent the best that 
Christian hymnody has bequeathed to us. 

Starting from this basis and even applying a rigorous 
criticism to the material at our disposal, we should have a 
body of hymns of fairly imposing dimensions and one 
quite sufficient in itself to satisfy all reasonable require- 
ments of the ordinary church. The only sedion inade- 
quately provided for would be the "Proper of Saints" : 
but we do not really need hymns about such shadowy 
figures as St. Bartholomew or Saint Simon and Saint Jude, 
which even the most accomplished poet could hardly hope 
to make very inspiring. Is there, then, any real necessity 
to go beyond such a "classical" collection as would be 
forthcoming on these terms of entrance ? 

The question raises issues of very practical importance. 
The average sort of congregation is mainly composed of 
the average sort of people, who have a very human objec- 
tion to having things that they dislike thrust down their 
throats because somebody else thinks that they ought to 
like them. The diclum that "men must love the highest 
when they see it" does not, unfortunately, always hold 
good in pradice. For instance, the Tattendon Hymnal is a 
casket of jewels : but there are good grounds for believing 
that Yattendon itself did not think very highly of it. Of 
the hymns in our suggested "classical" collection a con- 
siderable proportion have become established popular 
favourites : but many others appeal to the few rather than 
the many, and even the most determined efforts to 
popularize them seem hardly able to win for them any- 
thing more than toleration. On the other hand, congrega- 



tions have a trying habit of manifesting a special liking 
for hymns that a refined literary or musical taste con- 
demns. Take, for example, hymns of what is called the 
"mission" type. Such hymns have always been more 
popular among Nonconformists than in the Church of 
England : and the policy of the compilers of Church 
hymnals has usually been to include as few of them as 
possible. Yet if for any reason a hymn of this kind is intro- 
duced into the service of a church with a working-class 
congregation, the people will almost certainly "take to" 
it and demand its repetition. How far is this taste to be 
yielded to ? It cannot be denied that to simple and un- 
educated minds such hymns make a great appeal : and 
the great revivalists of the past have had no hesitation in 
using them and have largely promoted the success of their 
work by doing so. The crude language and metaphors and 
floridly vulgar tunes of many early Methodist hymns, the 
sentimental catchiness of "Moody and Sankey", the 
adaptation to pious words of popular tunes of the moment 
by the Salvation Army all these were an integral and 
deliberate part of the evangelism of those who adopted 
them. Nor can it be denied that all these movements did 
much good in a social milieu to which the standards of 
literary and musical criticism meant nothing at all. In the 
great work of saving souls questions of artistic taste are of 
secondary importance. The present writer remembers 
being struck by a remark made by the organist of a church 
famous for its exquisite musical services, to the effecT: that 
if he could fill an empty church and keep it full by using 
music that he knew to be artistically worthless he would 
not hesitate to do so. 

The hymns of which we are speaking are, of course, an 
extreme case : but for that very reason they pose our 
problem in its most clear-cut and challenging form. The 
same problem, however, is raised less acutely by not a few 
hymns which (unlike these) figure prominently in our 



popular Church hymnals. In confronting it we may begin 
by setting down certain salient fads that need to be borne 
in mind. 

1 . The bulk of the public that we have to cater for 
judges much more by the tune than by the words. The 
vast crowd which sings 'Abide with me' before a Cup 
Final football match is not thinking at all about the words, 
which are as unsuitable as they could possibly be both to 
the occasion and to the sort of people who sing them. But 
they know and like the tune, which serves as an outlet to 
their pent-up excitement. In the same way, when a con- 
gregation sings a hymn in church with gusto it is the tune 
that bears them along. Many of them have only a vague 
general idea as to what their favourite hymns are 

2. The explanation would appear to lie in the faft that 
for the ordinary man music has a wider range of expres- 
sion than has language. The same phenomenon is visible 
in the case of the "theme-songs" that are heard at the 
cinema. The words of these are the most arrant rubbish : 
and no one pays heed to anything except their general 
sense. It is the tune that creates the required mood and 
atmosphere : and this is all that matters for the purpose in 

3. In regard to words and music alike, only a small pro- 
portion of the public has enough of educated taste to 
judge whether a thing is good or bad. People will say that 
"they know what they like", but can give no better or 
clearer reason for their preference. Sometimes their judg- 
ment will coincide with that of the educated critic ; more 
often it is the exad opposite. We may add that, where 
hymns are concerned, the majority have often not enough 
of religious experience to enable them to enter into the 
emotion which prompted the author to write his hymn. 
The almost agonized sense of the dependence of the human 
soul upon GOD that inspired 'Abide with me' was very 



real to Henry Francis Lyte : it means little to many who 
enjoy singing his hymn in church or elsewhere. 

4. In the formation of popular judgments on hymns 
association is a much more powerful fador than intrinsic 
value. This applies not only to the uneducated but to the 
educated as well, if we may judge from the hymns sung 
at the funerals of famous and greatly gifted men as their 
"favourites". Here we face what is perhaps the most 
fundamental consideration of all. It is not so much what 
a hymn is or says that counts, as what it means to the 
individual who sings or hears it. Most of us will admit that 
there are some hymns and tunes which we are quite unable 
to look at from an external or objective point of view. 
Viewed through the golden mist of memory and associ- 
ation, even poor verse and undignified rhythm and 
melody may wear an entirely different look. 

These, it must be repeated, are simple psychological 
facts : and in deciding what hymns we are to use we can 
only ignore them at the cost of alienating a large part pf 
our congregations. The cultivated critic may rail as much 
as he likes against the preference of the ordinary wor- 
shipper in favour of the "Vidorian" sentimental hymns 
and tunes : but he will neither be able to make him appre- 
ciate his own criteria of taste nor wipe out the associations 
that make such things dear. All he can do is to create new 
and better associations and to trust that the old associa- 
tions will disappear with the lapse of time. Meanwhile, he 
may console himself by reflecting that, after all, the things 
which he dislikes so much are doing no great harm. It is 
sometimes alleged that the use of sentimental hymns and 
tunes is enervating, and calculated to sap the moral fibre 
of those who sing them. But this argument is hardly borne 
out by the fads. It is curious but undeniable that the most 
virile types of men sailors, soldiers, miners and the like 
show a special liking for just these sentimental hymns. 
Such men feel more deeply than they are usually willing 



to show : and, being for the most part simple, unsophisti- 
cated souls, they do not make a very clear distinction 
between sentiment and sentimentality. The present move- 
ment in favour of "stark" and "rugged" hymns proceeds 
from a cultivated artistic circle which is rather out of 
touch with the workaday world of the common man. The 
ordinary Englishman is decidedly a Philistine ; and seems 
likely to remain so in spite of all efforts to make him other- 
wise. In religion as in other matters he likes to express his 
emotions in ways that seem rather crude to a cultivated 
taste. We must take him as we find him : and if when he 
goes to church he prefers hymns like 'Abide with me' or 
'Hark, hark my soul' to German chorales or a combina- 
tion of Bridges and Bourgeois, we must not refuse him a 
measure of what he likes nor bolster up our refusal by 
pretending that such hymns make him "less of a man", 
when actually he is often more of a man than his better- 
educated critics. A church, after all, is a place to help the 
wayfaring man or woman along the rough road of life, not 
an academy of the fine arts. We are right to say that we 
must only offer our best to GOD : but we have no reason 
for supposing that GOD'S idea of "the best" is purely or 
even primarily aesthetic. A poor hymn which means some- 
thing, however dimly felt, to those who sing it is more 
acceptable to Him than the choicest poetry and music 
listened to with coldness and boredom. The reader may 
remember the poignant scene in a modern novel where a 
number of miners entombed in a pit sing 'Hold the fort,' 
and the author's comment : "Each and all realized that 
there are worse ways of going to one's death than singing 
a battle song by Moody and Sankey." 32 

Again, even in the matter of criteria of taste, it should 
not be forgotten that the literary and musical preferences 
of the cultivated minority at any given moment are far 
from representing a standard that is unalterably fixed. 
Fashions change : and the present taste for a stark and 



unsentimental directness is a natural reaction from the 
rhetoric and romanticism of the late nineteenth century. 
But we cannot be certain that the reaction will continue : 
and there is real danger lest, when we set to work to purge 
our hymnals, we "tip out the baby with the bath- water". 
The characteristic products of Victorian hymnody are 
probably neither as good as the Victorians thought them 
nor as bad as their critics of to-day think them. Time will 
winnow them out, as it has winnowed out the hymns of 
earlier ages. The great majority will become obsolete : but 
the best will remain and will be valued as typical of their 
age and style and also as most characteristically 
English. Do not these hymns, after all, represent practi- 
cally the only, approach to a genuine "folk-song" that the 
present age can show ? Meanwhile we must be prepared 
for the "time-lag" which always dictates that the less 
worthy products of the preceding generation, which a 
critical judgment rightly rejects, shall retain their hold for 
the time being on the uncritical multitude. The inferior 
specimens among the "Georgian" hymns now being pro- 
duced are likely to be just as much a nuisance to the 
musical reformers of fifty years hence as the bad "Vic- 
torian" hymns are to those of to-day. 

What, then, is to be our practical line of action ? 
Certainly not to adopt a policy of drift and to abandon all 
efforts to improve the standard of our Church song. But 
it is no use to force the pace : we must proceed slowly. To 
begin with, we should remember that our attitude must 
be largely determined by the kind of church (and also the 
kind of service) for which provision has to be made. Much 
may be permitted in a mission church in a slum district 
that could not be tolerated for a moment in a church with 
an educated congregation. Then (bearing this distinction 
in mind) we must make it our business to put on our hymn 
lists as many good hymns as we dare; and no more in- 
ferior hymns than we must in order to keep our congrega- 



tions content. Above all, we must be careful to see that the 
new hymns which we introduce into our services are such 
as reach an adequate standard both in words and music, 
unless there be urgent religious reasons to the contrary. 
We may sometimes have to make concessions to popular 
taste : but we need not deliberately encourage it to be bad. 
Fortunately, a large number of popular hymns are also 
unexceptionable from the critic's standpoint : and this 
eases our problem considerably. A sound practical rule 
for those who have to choose hymns would seem to be 
this. In the case of hymns sung within the framework of 
the Divine Office itself (whether as "Office Hymn" before 
the Psalms or Magnificat, or as a substitute for the 
"Anthem" after the Third Collect) choose only hymns 
that are first-rate, with a special preference for hymns of 
the "objective" type, concerned with the glory and 
majesty of GOD and the great mysteries of the Faith rather 
than with the subjective moods and needs of the indi- 
vidual. The more "popular" and subjective hymns can 
be sung later, before or after the sermon, which is ex- 
peeled to deal largely with the more personal aspects of 
religion. At the Eucharist, too, the hymns chosen should 
be of the more objective and dignified type, in so far 
as they are not Eucharistic hymns. The latter will 
supply as much of the subjective element as is needful or 

The same policy should be followed by those who have 
not simply to use hymnals but to compile or revise them ; 
unless, of course, they are in the lucky and exceptional 
position of having to provide (like the compilers of the 
Oxford Hymn Book) for an educated and critical clientele 
only. Broadly speaking, we may say that hymns serve two 
purposes, and that a popular hymnal should be designed 
to meet them both. The first purpose may be described as 
"liturgical" the adornment of the Church's worship 
with the best that is available and suitable in poetry and 



in art. The provision here should be confined to the 
classical products of every age, with a special preference 
for hymns that have stood the test of centuries. Such 
modern hymns as are included under this category should 
bear unmistakable signs of being of the highest order. In 
cases where the tunes to which the hymns in this class are 
usually sung are unworthy of the words, they should be 
reset to better tunes here again preferably good old 
tunes, or, if modern tunes are used, those that are in- 
dubitably first-rate in the judgment of the musicians. The 
second purpose we may describe as "popular and mis- 
sionary", aiming at the edification of the masses, not 
forgetting that the "masses" include many groups of 
individuals with special needs of their own. Here the com- 
piler may allow himself more latitude, deliberately appeal- 
ing to the taste of the age and remembering that each 
generation has its own way of envisaging religion and its 
own popular preferences in regard to its expression. Of 
course, there is a level below which even hymns in this 
class should not be allowed to sink : but the line must be 
drawn in such a way as to make a reasonable concession 
to the popular taste of the time. If hymns of a definitely 
"mission" type are used at all (and even the English 
Hymnal found it desirable to include such things as 'Hold 
the fort' and 'I hear Thy welcome voice'), they should be 
relegated to a separate sedion and not be mixed up with 
hymns less open to criticism. 

All this means that a final and definitive hymnal is an 
impossibility. Hymnals are like most other human things 
"they have their day and cease to be". For one thing, the 
"canon" of Christian hymnody is never closed. The out- 
put of hymns, good, bad and indifferent, goes on steadily : 
every age has its own contributions to make, and the best 
of them go in the end to swell the "classical" stock. The 
rest serve their turn for the time being, and then dis- 
appear. Many hymns will have a real value for the genera- 



tion that produced them (and for the generation or two 
immediately following) which they will not retain for 
posterity. This, for example, has been the fate of the great 
majority of Charles Wesley's hymns. Written to serve an 
immediate need, they served it with acceptance : but the 
religious atmosphere which they reflect is different from 
that of our day, and they have lost their power to stir men's 
hearts. Thus every age has the task of scrapping a large 
amount of material that has gone out of date : and every 
hymnal must look forward to being supplanted in the end 
or at least to undergoing drastic revision. 

Once again, in a comprehensive church like our own, 
different schools of thought have their particular prefer- 
ences in hymns as elsewhere. The historic associations and 
the dogmatic content of the mediaeval Office Hymns and 
of many of the Traclarian hymns will make an appeal to 
the Anglo-Catholic which the Evangelical and still more 
the Modernist will be far from recognizing to the same 
extent. The Evangelical, on the other hand, has always 
shown a special preference for the "personal" type of 
hymn ; while the Modernist, with his distrust of doclrinal 
definition and desire to make the Church as compre- 
hensive as possible, will be ready to admit into the hymnal 
he uses a number of religious lyrics which those who set 
more store by the traditional theology will regard as 
theistic rather than specifically Christian. These different 
schools of thought have all their recognized place within 
the corporate framework of Anglicanism : and as no single 
hymnal can give to all alike the hymns that each wants to 
use and no others, it is only natural that each should have 
a hymnal or hymnals of its own. This multiplication of 
hymnals has the further advantage of encouraging a wider 
range of research and experiment along different lines. 
For example, even those who do not entirely approve of 
Songs of Praise will admit that it is introducing and 
popularizing a considerable number of hymns that are 



likely to prove permanent additions to the "classical" 
hymnody of the future. 

The desirability of this multiplication of hymn-books, 
with the confusion and competition that it inevitably 
brings in its train, has of course decidedly its limits. In the 
"experimental" period of the second half of the nineteenth 
century much practical inconvenience must have been 
caused by there being so many rival hymn-books in the 
field : and we can only rejoice that the range of choice has 
narrowed to-day. On the other hand, if the arguments 
adduced in this chapter hold good, it seems well to abstain 
from any attempts to stereotype our hymnody. A desire is 
sometimes expressed though less frequently than a 
generation ago that the Church of England might have 
an "official" hymn-book issued by authority for use in 
every church. But the case against this seems to be much 
stronger than the case in its favour. Such a book would be 
difficult to compile, more difficult to enforce in general 
use, and most difficult of all to change when once it was 
compiled and adopted. Yet there can be no life without 
change : and the Church must be ready to march with the 
times, in its hymnody as in other more important matters. 

2 59 



i . Who should choose the hymns to be sung in church ? 
The parson or the organist ? In practice it is sometimes 
the one and sometimes the other. But it is indubitably the 
parson's right to do so : and if the organist does so instead 
it can only be as the parson's deputy. Not only is it the 
parson's right but it is also his duty. It is he who is re- 
sponsible for the services of which the hymns form a part : 
and it is for him to judge what is necessary to make these 
services as appropriate and as helpful as possible. More- 
over, as he has the task of preaching as well, he will often 
have to choose hymns that may serve either to prepare 
his hearers for his discourse beforehand or to drive home 
its message afterwards. On the other hand, it can hardly 
be too much insisted on that the parson should take the 
organist into his confidence and assure himself of his co- 
operation and approval. If he is ignorant of music he 
should ask the organist's advice on the subject of tunes, 
supposing that the organist is competent to give it, which 
(of course) is by no means always the case. In the latter 
contingency he should seek the advice of those who are 
competent. In this connection both parson and organist 
will do well to lay to heart the findings of the admirable 
Report of the Archbishops' Committee on Church Music 
(revised edn. 1932), and especially the four criteria of a 
"good tune" laid down on pp. 7-9 and the remarks on 
hymn-singing on pp. 29 ff. In this way (granted a reason- 
able docility in both towards expert opinion) a common 



ground may be achieved which will help to reconcile 
possible differences of view. In any case, the parson must 
take all possible pains to carry his organist with him. If he 
is an enthusiast for hymnal reform, he must learn to 
temper 2eal with prudence, and remember that unless he 
can avoid alienating the organist and the choir his 
efforts are likely to do more harm than good. Tact and 
patience are nowhere more needed than in the difficult 
task of improving our Church music. 

2. In choosing the hymns the parson must be willing 
to take trouble. In too many cases the job is done in a 
hurry. The vicar (or the curate) dashes into the vestry 
five minutes before the choir-practice, seizes a hymn-book, 
and rapidly turning over its pages chooses the first hymns 
catching his eye which "they know" and which have not 
been used (so far as his memory serves) on the last few 
Sundays. It is obviously impossible to do justice to the 
contents of any hymnal in this way, A certain number of 
hymns get worked to death ; while many other and better 
ones remain entirely unused, less by deliberate intent than 
from sheer forgetfulness that they exist. The duty of 
choosing hymns (surely not the most insignificant item in 
a parson's work) should be set about in a systematic way. 
On a day when he has a little time at his disposal, the 
parson should take down his hymn-book and make a list 
of all the hymns in it that are of a quality to make them 
worth singing on their merits, together with those hymns 
which, though he knows them to be poor stuff, must be 
sung at reasonable intervals because "the congregation 
likes them ". Using this first list as a basis he should make 
another list from time to time (say once a quarter), in 
which he should distribute over the coming Sundays 
(a) those hymns appropriate to the season which the 
congregation knows, (b) those which they don't know but 
would do well to learn, being careful to avoid repetitions 
unless he definitely feels them for any reason to be 



desirable. Of course it is well not to put in more than a 
very few new hymns at a time, and also to allow the con- 
gregation to sing them at frequent intervals at first, so that 
it may get to know them. In compiling such a list he will 
do well to consult the list of suggested hymns for the 
different Sundays, etc., which some hymnals (e.g. E.H. 
and S.P.) provide, or the list issued periodically by the 
quarterly magazine of the School of English Church 
Music. The list which he has thus drawn up will serve as 
a basis for the lists that he makes for the several Sundays 
as they come, of course making such alterations as may be 
necessitated by the circumstances of the moment or by the 
subject of his sermon. 

3. On the questions concerning (i) the extent to which 
the parson may give his people the hymns that they like, 
though he knows them to be intrinsically unworthy, and 
(2) the assignment of different kinds and qualities of 
hymns to different parts of the service, the reader is re- 
ferred to what was said in the preceding chapter (p. 250 f.) . 
Most congregations like plenty of hymns : and this prefer- 
ence where it exists may be freely indulged. From a 
liturgical point of view, however, the common pradice of 
singing what are called "processional" and "recessional" 
hymns i.e. hymns sung while the choir walks to the 
chancel and back again is decidedly open to objection ; 
though where it rests on long-established usage it may be 
perilous to abolish it precipitately. In the case of the so- 
called "processional" hymn in particular it is obviously 
rather absurd for the priest to say "O Lord, open thou 
our lips" in the opening sedion of the service, when the 
choir and congregation rjave already joined lustily in a 
hymn. Up to that point the service should be kept as 
quiet and sotto voce as possible, all being said and not sung. 
If a "processional hymn" is sung, it should be on festal 
occasions (or in Rogationtide) and in the proper way, 
i.e. from the chancel and back to the chancel at the 



Eucharist before the service and at Evensong at the end 
of it before the final Blessing. Where an additional hymn 
is required besides those at the usual and obvious points, it 
may be inserted at the Eucharist between the Epistle and 
Gospel the place occupied by the mediaeval Sequences 
and at Evensong either before the Psalms or (the more 
usual place) before Magnificat, by analogy with the 
Breviary Office Hymns. The use of a "Vesper Hymn" at 
the end of evening service need not be too seriously 
opposed, if the congregation are accustomed to it and like 
it. It is rather sentimental in effect: but simple people 
often find it helpful. Care should be taken, however, in 
its selection ; as some of the most dreadful specimens of 
hymnody are to be found in this category. It should be 
sung, too, before the Blessing and not after it: and the 
same rule applies to the singing of the National Anthem. 
The Blessing is obviously the end of the service. 


[Inasmuch as the author has had no great experience 
of taking charge of these, he has invoked the help of his 
friend and colleague, Dr. Sydney H. Nicholson, who has 
kindly contributed the following :] 

Congregational practices are certainly desirable; in- 
deed without them it is almost impossible to effect im- 
provement or to learn new music. 

The best time for congregational practices will depend 
upon local conditions, but normally they should last about 
20 to 30 minutes, either before or after a service. 

It is a great advantage to have a more or less informal 
"congregational choir", which can be relied on to attend 
regularly and to make a habit of looking up the hymns 
before coming to church to be, as it were, the re- 
sponsible leaders. For this purpose the services of women 
singers will prove invaluable, as the main object is to get 
a clearly defined line of melody. 
s 263 


Theoretically it is best that the congregation should 
sing only the melody in unison, but in practice it is im- 
possible to prevent those who will from "putting in a bit 
of tenor or bass" or "singing seconds". Curiously enough 
the effect of this "natural harmony" is not so bad as might 
be supposed : in any case it is inevitable, and must be 
accepted as such. It is indeed almost true to say that pro- 
vided every one sings with enthusiasm it does not very 
much matter (apart from the tone-deaf) what he sings ! 

Thus only the broadest effects are within reach in most 
churches. Anything that requires a lot of instruction (like 
correct part-singing) is normally out of the question. 

But there are certain things that can be done : 

(1) The congregation can be taught to start with the 
choir, and not to be content to join in about the second 
line. Playing over the tune should be the signal for all to 

(2) They can be taught to take deep breaths, so that 
the voice will be under control and phrases need not be 
broken. A proper supply of breath is the first essential for 
singing. Most untutored singers do not take breath con- 
sciously at all it is just left to instinct. 

(3) They can be taught to give the natural speech- 
emphasis to the words. This means concentrating on the 
words uttered and defining the vowels and consonants : 
very often the words are taken as a mere vehicle to carry 
an attractive tune. It is most salutary to read the words 
aloud, pointing out (perhaps with a movement of the 
hand) where the main stresses fall. This may perhaps be 
illustrated by taking two stanzas of Bishop Ken's Evening 

More often than not a congregation will sing this either 
with equal emphasis on each note whether the syllable is 
strong or weak, or with a regular alternation of strong and 
weak notes in each line. But if the words are properly 
read it will be seen that this regular alternation of strong 



and weak really only fits one line (the fourth) in the first 

In line i the stress falls on the first syllable of "Glory", 
not the second. 

In line 2 there are only three stressed syllables : "all", 
"bless(mgs)" and "light". 

In line 3 the stress is on the first syllable "Keep", not on 


So the verse should be accented thus : 

Glory to Thee, my God, this night 
For all the blessings of the light : 
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings. 
Beneath Thy own Almighty wings. 

In the third verse another simple point emerges : 
Breath must not be taken at the end of lines i and 3, 

but they must be joined to lines 2 and 4 respectively. 

Thus : 

Teach me to live,* that f may dread 
The grave as little as my bed ; 
Teach me to die,* that so I may 
Rise glorious at the awful day. 

If a few simple principles like this can be explained to a 
congregation, it will make a wonderful difference in the 
vitality of the singing. For they cannot be carried out 
unless people are thinking of the words they are uttering : 
and that is the first necessity for interpretation and 
expression of meaning. 

(4) Warning should be given about the importance of 
maintaining the rhythm or "swing" of a tune once it has 
become established. Much depends upon a suitable time 
being taken by the choir and organ, but no general rule 
can be laid down, for the "right pace" varies with different 



(5) Variety can be secured by such simple means as the 
use of men's and women's voices in alternation, choir 
alone, congregation alone, unison with organ, or unison 
softly and without organ. This last is one of the most 
impressive in effect, yet is seldom used. 

(6) In teaching new tunes it is best to take the melody 
line by line without the words, and if the conductor can 
give a pattern with his voice it will be better than relying 
on the organ. Indeed, much of a congregational practice 
should be taken without any instrument. 

(7) It is useful if the choir can be present at a congre- 
gational practice, but it is wise, at any rate sometimes, to 
place them among the congregation not in one block, 
but distributed. A very good plan is for the members of 
the choir to stand in the aisles, one at the end of each row 
of seats, just as though they were in procession. This will 
give great confidence to the congregation and at the same 
time place responsibility on the individual members of 
the choir. 

The above are a few methods that have been found 
useful in practical experience. 


i. It is only comparatively recently that sufficient 
attention has been paid to child-psychology to ensure 
that hymns written for children shall be also suitable for 
children. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
expecled children to be religious in the same way in 
which they were dressed like little "grown-ups". The 
Divine and Moral Songs for Children of good Dr. Watts enjoy 
an unenviable notoriety for their failure to understand a 
child's mentality, their perpetual harping on the im- 
proving "moral" and their indifference to the possible 
effecT: on tender minds of their grim and threatening 
presentation of the religion of Jesus Christ. Dr. Dearmer 



(who himself possessed a quite admirable gift for dealing 
with children) has given us some painful examples in his 
Songs of Praise Discussed.^ 21 The Hymns for Children of 
Charles Wesley reveal some of the same defects indeed 
he seems to have deliberately avoided writing for children 
as children. 322 Even in the middle of the nineteenth 
century the gracious authoress of 'There is a green hill' 
and 'All things bright and beautiful' was also capable of 
perpetrating 'Within the churchyard, side by side'. Nowa- 
days, however, all is changed : and the children of the 
present have small grounds in this respect for complaint 
concerning the hymns that they are normally expected to 

2. How far should the hymns given to children be con- 
fined to those that presuppose children as the singers ? 
For various reasons it seems desirable that they should be 
encouraged to sing hymns written for general use as well, 
so long as these are suitable to their needs and simple 
enough for them to understand. The child looks forward 
to the day when he will be grown up : and it is good to 
encourage this feeling and not to harden him in a 
"childish" mentality. Again, the children's service and 
the Sunday School are designed as a training for the 
corporate worship of later life : and the children as they 
grow up will be more at home in this if they are familiar 
with the hymns. It may be added that even "children's 
hymns" should be to some extent "graded", just as the 
children themselves are graded. All children's hymns are 
not equally suitable for all children. It is unkind to ask 
big boys and girls of fourteen to describe themselves as 
"little children". Nor should hymns for the young insist 
only on the "meek and gentle" side of the Christian 
character, but on its high-spirited and heroic aspect as 
well. All these principles are well exemplified in the 
Church and School Hymn Book published by S.P.C.K., which 
is also excellent both in words and music. Such hymns as 



Canon Crum's 'Let us sing to Him who gave us mirth and 
laughter' (288) and Mr. Erskine Clarke's 'O, David was a 
shepherd lad' (243) in this, and Dean Beeching's little 
poem, 'Goo who created me 5 (504), in S.P., represent a 
type of hymn of which those who have to deal with grow- 
ing boys will wish that there were more examples. 

3. In choosing hymns for children we must be very 
careful about quality, Nothing is more fatally wrong than 
to say, "It is only for children : it doesn't matter whether 
the hymn is rubbish or not". Such an attitude is "poison- 
ing the wells" with a vengeance ! The taste of the young 
is malleable as that of adults is not : it is "wax to receive", 
even as it is "marble to retain". Herein lies our chief hope 
for raising the standard of Christian hymnody, both by 
creating a liking for good things and, even more, by form- 
ing new "associations" for good hymns in place of the old 
associations for bad ones, which continually hamper us in 
dealing with older people. "Nothing is too good for the 
child." This principle is more and more inspiring our 
secular education : and the Church must see that it does 
not lag behind or choose a lower way. 

On this note our book may fitly close. Its main purpose 
has been to show how Newman's dream for the Church 
of England almost exactly a century ago of "a gradual 
drifting of precious things upon her shores, now one and 
now another, out of which she may complete her rosary 
and enrich her beads" 323 has been in large measure 
fulfilled in that sphere of hymnody which he had in mind. 
True, these "precious things" are mingled with not a 
little that is inferior or even worthless. Yet they are ours, 
and they come to us from every age of the Christian past. 
It is for us to treasure them and to give them in our 
worship that place of honour which is their due. We 
cannot hope to keep them entirely free from admixture 
with baser elements : for there are many to whom it is not 
always given to appreciate their true worth, and the 



spiritual needs of these may require a different satis- 
faction. In striving, too, as we must, to make them more 
widely valued we shall have to contend with all the mani- 
fold influences that incessantly debauch the public taste. 
Yet that, after all, is only the handicap which besets the 
whole work of popular education. We must simply do the 
best we can. 



The following abbreviations are used : 

JDH Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (revised ed.), 1907. 

FHAM Frere, Historical Edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1909. 

HDRE Hastings' Dictionary of Religion and Ethics. 

LDAGL Diclionnaire de YArchlologie chritienne et de la Liturgie, art. 'Hvmne', 

by Dom Leclercq, in vol. vi (pt. 2), pp. 2826 ff. 
PHEG Pitra, Hymnalogie de I'Eglise grecque, 1867. 
NCH Neale, Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols, 1914. 
WELH Walpole, Early Latin Hymns, 1922. 
AH Analecla Hymnica (ed. Dreves and Blume), vols. I-LV. 

RCLP Raby, Christian Latin Poetry, 1927. 
BAILH Bernard and Atkinson, The Irish Liber Hymnorum (Henry 

Bradshaw Society), 1897-8. 
OBMV Oxford Book of Mediaeval Verse, 1928. 
SH Selborne, Hymns, 1892 (a reprint, with additions, of art. in 

Encyclopaedia Britannica, gth ed., 1881). 
BEH Benson, The English Hymn, 1915. 
DSPD Dearmer, Songs of Praise Discussed, 1933. 

1 Hallam, Lord Tennyson, 
Tennyson : a Memoir ii. 401. 

2 Augustine, En. in ps. 148, 17 
(P.L. xxxvii. 1947). 

3 Church, Discipline of the Chris- 
tian Character 53. 

4 Introd. to Hymns of the Eastern 
Church (1862) in NCH, 219. 

5 FHAM ix. 

6 Procter and Frere, Hist, of 
B.C.P. 312. 

7 See Wagner, Hist, of Plain 
Chant (Eng. tr.) 14 ff. 

8 SH6. 

9 Burn, art. 'Hymns' in Hast- 
ings, Diet, of the Apostolic Church i. 

10 Art. 'Didache' in Enc. Brit. 

11 LDACL 2837. 

12 Justin M. i Apol. 67. 

13 LDACL 2832. 

14 Duchesne, Christian Worship 
(Eng. tr.) 50. 

16 LDACL 2835. 

16 PHEG 34 ff. 

17 Cabrol, Liturgical Prayer, its 
History and Spirit (Eng. tr.) 43. 

18 A. Baumstark, art. 'Hymns 
(Greek Christian)' in HDRE vii. 5. 

19 See Batiffol, Histoire du brtvi- 
aire remain 9 f. 

20 Tertullian, Apol. 39. 

21 Eusebius, H.E. v. 28. 

22 Ib. vii. 24. 

23 Pliny, Epp. x. 96. 

24 Duchesne, Cuvette defontaineet 
jambage d'autel in De la Blanchere, 
Collection du musee Alaoui, fasc. 
i, p. 49, n. i, quoted LDACL 
2538. Cabrol, too, inclines to this 
view, op. cit. 102. 

25 Tertullian, De came Christi, 
xvii. xx, (P.L. ii. 781, 786.) 

28 Irenaeus, Adv. haer. I. xv. 6. 

27 Eus. H.E. vii. 30. 

28 Rendell Harris, Odes and 
Psalms of Solomon, 1909, 2nd ed. 
1911 : re-edited 1916-20. 



29 Bernard, Odes of Solomon 42. 

30 See Leclercq, art. 'Odes de 
Salomon' in DACL xii. 1903 ff. 

31 Basil, De Spir. Santto xxix. 
73 (P.G. xxxii. 205). 

3 2 Ap. Con. vii. 48, LDACL 2847. 

33 Cabrol, op. cit. 102, 

34 Procler and Frere, op. cit. 462. 

35 Duchesne, op. cit. 83. 

36 PHEG 37. 

87 Eng. tr. in Ante-Nicene Chris- 
tian Library iv. 343, Another tr. 
'Shepherd of tender youth' has 
found a place in various hymnals. 

38 LDACL 2853 f. Baumstark, 
HDRE vii. 6. 

39 LDAGL 2850 f. Baumstark, 
HDRE vii. 6. 

40 The tradition in the Liber 
Pontificalis (i. 129) that it was 
introduced by Pope Telesphorus 
early in the second century, being 
said by the Pope on Christmas 
Eve, need not be taken seriously. 

41 JDH 1 109 f. 

43 Wagner, op. cit. 39, with 
references to H. Gramme, Der 
Strophenbau in den Gedkhten Ephrams 
des Syrers, and W. Meyer, Anfang 
und Ursprung der Lat. und Griech. 
rythmischen Dichtung. 

43 Duchesne, Hist, of the Ancient 
Church (Eng. tr.) ii. 137. 

44 Aug. Con/, ix. 7. 

45 Hefele-Leclercq, Histoire des 
Candles vol. i. pt. 2, p. 1025. 

46 LDACL 2867. 

47 Socrates, H.E. vi. 8. 

48 See Elizabeth Barrett Brown- 
ing's essay, "The Greek Christian 
Poets", in her ColMed Works 

(1897) 597 ff 

49 Gibbon, Decline and Fall (ed. 
Bury) ii. 324. 

50 E. B. Browning, op. cit. 602 ff. 
See also Glover, Life and Letters in 
the fourth cent. (ch. xiv.) 320 ff. 

51 PHEG 21. 

52 See Wagner, as above. 

53 S. Petrides, Notes d'hymno- 
graphie byzantine in Byzantinische 
Zeitschrift, 1904, xiii. 421-3, 
quoted LDACL 2874. 

54 PHEG 42 ff. 

BS JDH 460. Baumstark, HDRE 
vii. 9. 

56 JDH 460. 

57 Baumstark, HDRE vii. 8. 
See also LDACL 2879 f. 

88 PHEG 48, 51. 

59 Analecla sacra etc. 

60 Crist, Anthologia graeca carmi- 
num christianorum (1871) LI. f. 

61 LDACL 2882. 

62 NCH 220. 

63 PHEG 10 ff. 

64 LDACL 2878. 

65 PHEG 47 f. 

68 By Littledale, Offices of the 
H.E. Church 197 metrical form 
by W. C. Dix. JDH 976. 

67 First published in Hymns of 
the Eastern Church (1862), reprinted 
in NCH 223 ff. 

68 Ib. 222. 

69 Baumstark, HDRE vii. 10. 

70 On these see H. Leigh Ben- 
nett in JDH 464 f. 

71 FHAM 27. 
7 2 JDH 606 f. 

73 Ib. 465. 

74 NCH 219. 

75 Baumstark, HDRE vii. ii. 

76 By H. L. Bennett in JDH 
465 f. 

77 Isidore, De of. Eccl. i. 6 (P.L. 
Ixxxiii. 743). 

78 Printed in P.L. x. 551. 

79 Jerome, De vir. illustr. c. 

80 Aug. Conf. ix. 6, 7 (tr. Bigg). 

81 See Jerome's statement in 
Praef. in Gal. bk. ii., 'Gallos in 
hymnorum carmine indociles' 
(P.L. xxvi. 355). 

82 Mansi, Concilia ix. 778 ; viii. 
330 ; ix. 803 ; x. 623 : also Batiffol, 
op. cit. 208 f. 

83 See Burn, The Hymn TeDeum 
and its author, and the same 
writer's Niceta of Remesiana ; W. 
Douglas, Church Music in History 
and Practice, isBf. 

84 See Dr. A. J. Mason's art. 
'The first Christian poet' in J. of 
Theol. Studies, April, 1904, and 
another by A. S. Walpole, 'Hymns 
attributed to Hilary of Poitiers', 
ib. July, 1905. See also art. 
'Hilaire (saint)', by X. le Bachelet 
in Vacant, Diclionnaire de Thtologie 
catholique, and Dreves in AH. L. i- 



8 s See WELH i ff. : also BAILH 
i. 36 ff., ii. 125 ff. and Warren, 
Antiphonary of Bangor (H.B.S.) ii. 
36 ff. Gaselee in OBMV says : 'I 
query the ascription to St. Hilary 
only because the great name of 
William Meyer is against it,' 205. 

86 FHAM xii. 
8 'JDH 44 2. 

88 Duchesne, Christian Worship, 

89 Ambrose, Sermo c. Auxentium 


90 Isidore, De off. Eccl. i. 6. 

91 Trench, Sacred Latin Poetry 86. 

92 The subject was -first criti- 
cally examined by Dr. L. Biraghi 
in Inni sinceri e carmi di San? Am- 
brogio (1862). His canons and con- 
clusions have been accepted by 
Dreves, Blume and A. Steier, and 
in England by WELH 21 ff. and 
FHAM xii. f. 

93 Aug.fle* 

94 Aug. De beata vita 35, Con/, 
ix. 12, WELH 44 f. 

95 Aug. De not. et grat. 63, 
WELH 39 f. 

9 fl See WELH 50 f. 

97 -ft. 35 f- 

98 Ib. 62 f. 

99 Ib. 104 f. 

100 Of these hymns WELH be- 
lieves that Ambrose wrote (i), (2), 
(3) and "inclines to believe" that 
he wrote (4), 25 f, io8f, 112. 

101 RCLP 34. 

102 Gastoue", V Eglise et la 
musique, 125. 

103 Dreves, art. 'Hymns (Latin 
Christian)' in HDRE vii. 16. 

104 Trench, o/>. cit. ^ ff. 

105 Ib. 1 6 if. 

106 Ibid. 26 ff. 

107 Guest, History of English 
Rhythms i. 116. 

IBS Bigg, Wayside Sketches in 
Eccl. History 21. 

109 On this see Chesterton, St. 
Francis, 26, 37. 

110 Glover, Life and Letters in the 
fourth cent. (ch. xi.) 253, 275. On 
Prudentius see also Bigg, op. cit. 
i ff. ; Gaston Boissier, La fin du 
paganisms ii. 123 ff. : RCLP 44 ff. ; 
Dreves in HDRE vii. 1 7 ; and art. 

by Dr. Nairne in Ch. Quarterly R., 
July, 1928. The Cathemerinon was 
published in the "Temple Classics" 
series (1905) with a verse tr. and 
commentary by Dr. R. M. Pope. 

111 Glover, as above, 277. 

112 WELH 123 ff. 

113 Ib. 126. 

114 Ib. igof. 

115 Ib. ii7f. 

116 Ib. iigf. 

117 Ib. 121 f. 

118 Ib. iggff. 

119 Ib. 149 ff. 

120 Ib. ix. He gives one example, 
lam Christus ascendit polum. 

121 This seems to be much more 
than doubtful. But an Elpis may 
have written thehymn,WELH 395. 

122 \Yaddell, Mediaeval Latin 
Lyrics, 300 f. On Fortunatus see also 
RCLP 86 ff. and Tardi, Fortunat. 

123 Trench, op. cit. 129. 

124 RCLP 94. 

125 WELH 173 ff. 

126 Blount, Compleat Office of the 
Holy Week (1687) 224 f. 

127 WELH 165 ff. 

128 74. i78f. 

129 "Yhls poem is the longest of 
several poetical epistles addressed 
to Felix, Bishop of Nantes. The 
first 54 lines are printed in WELH 
182 ff. Complete text in AH. L. 
76 f., with much information as 
to the use of various centos. 

130 See WELH 198 ff. and 
Dreves, Hymnologischen Studien #1 
Yen. Fort., etc., 6f: but also 
RCLP 92 n. 

131 Dreves in HDRE vii. 18. 

132 So N. J. D. White, St. 
Patrick, His Writings and Life 62, 
BAILH ii. 208. But Kuno Meyer 
in a note appended to his tr. of the 
Lorica ('The Deer's Cry') in 
Ancient Irish Poetry (25 ff.) says, 
"The hymn in the form in which 
it has come down to us cannot be 
earlier than the eighth century" 
(p. 112). 

133 Orig. text BAILH i. 133, 
tr. ii. 49 f. See also 208 f. The tr. 
in the text is from Whitley Stokes, 
Tripartite Life of St. Patrick (Rolls 
series) 381. 



134 Printed in Wright, Writings 
of St. Patrick (1889) 94. 

136 Ed. by F. L. Warren for 
Henry Bradshaw Soc. Antiphonary 
qfBangor, 2 vols. 1893-5. 

138 Ib. 11. 10 (text), 44 ff. (note). 
See also WELH 344. 

137 Tr. by Whitley Stokes, op. 
tit. ii. 397. 

138 Text in BAILH i. 66; 
OBMV 25 ff. 209. 

139 Adamnan, Vita S. Columbae 
ii. 9, iii. 23. 

140 FHAM xiii. ff. 

141 Blume's view with the evi- 
dence was first set out in Der 
Cursus S. Benedicli, Nursini und die 
liturgischen Hymnen des 6-9 jfahr- 
hunderts . . . (Hymnologische 
Beitrage, 3er Band) Leipzig. He 
also summarized it in his introd. 
to AH. LI. The learned Belgian 
BenedidBne Dom U. Berliere 
accepted it on its appearance 
(Revue Benedlttine, July, 1908) : 
also A. S. Walpole (J.T.S. Oct. 
1908 and introd. to WELH xi. ff.). 
Walpole says that "it is now gene- 
rally accepted by scholars". See, 
however, RLCP 38 f. and 124 n. 

142 WELH 258 f. 

us These hymns appear in 3 
only of 5 MSS. and are therefore 
presumably later additions. 

" 4 WELH 349 f., 356 f. 

145 Ib. 298. 

146 Ib. 1 08 ff. 

147 See ib. 260-91. 

148 The Latin titles are Martyr 
Dei, Rex gloriose (384), Aeterna 
Christi (104), Jesu corona (112), 
Sanflorum mentis, Virginis proles and 
Summe confessor (Numbers in 
brackets indicate page on which 
hymn appears in WELH). The 
last is not in E.H., as having failed 
to survive into Sarum Use. 

149 Orig. text in BAILH i. 
62 f. (B), tr. ii. 23 f (B). 

150 WELH 264, 276. 

151 Gabrol, op. cit. 99. 
182 FHAM 120. 

153 WELH 316 ff. 

154 Walpole dates it Vlth to 
Vlllth centuries, ib. 377. 

155 FHAM xxiv. 

156 Dreves in HDRE vii. 18. 
See also Batiffol, op. cit. 209 f. 

157 On Paul the Deacon see 
RLGP 163 f, Waddell op. cit. 311. 

168 On Hrabanus see RGLP 
1 79 f, Waddell 3 14. 

169 Dreves in AH. L. 207. 

160 Ib. L. 1 93 ; also Dreves, Hym- 
nologischen Studien 123 ff. But see 
RGLP 183 n. 

161 FHAM 259. 
162 RCLP258f. 

183 The "Benedicline abbess of 
the eleventh century" to whom it 
has been attributed is a mere 
myth. See art. by Reginald Vaux 
in C. Q,. R. April, 1929 : also 
OBMV 228. 

164 On Theodulph see RGLP 

171 f. 

165 \v arren} Tfig Sarum Missal in 

English i. 224. 

166 On Abelard see RLCP 
319 f. 

167 FHAM 512. 

168 Ed. H. G. Hoskier, 1929. 
Neale's tr. of the Rhythm is printed 
in extenso in NGH 203 ff. 

170 FHAM 209. 

171 AH. XLVIII.475. 

172 On what follows see FHAM 
xxviii. f. and Dr. Frere's more de- 
tailed treatment in his Winchester 
Troper (H.B.S.), introd. See also 
Wagner, op. cit. 243 ff., 219 ff. ; 
RGLP 210 ff. and Blume and 
Bannister in AH. LIII. introd. 

173 Gastoue, UEglise et la 
musique 132. 

174 FHAM xxix. ; also Frere in 
Oxford History of Music, introd. 
vol. I57ff. ; Hughes, Anglo- 
French Sequelae^ introd. 

175 See Werner, Mothers Se- 
quenzen (1901). 

176 On this see Chambers, The 
Mediaeval Stage ii. 29 ff. 

177 On Adam of St. Vidor see 
RGLP 348 ff. and Blume and Ban- 
nister, AH. LIV. introd. 

178 Les Proses d'Adam de Saint 
Viflor, Paris, 1900. 

179 See RGLP 343. 

180 Ib. 443 f. 

181 FHAM 41 7. 



182 SeeRGLP405f. 

183 JDH 1043 ff. 

184 FHAM xxix. 

185 See Leclercq's art. 'Litur- 
gies neo-Gallicanes 1 in DAGL ix. 
1636 ff. 

186 FHAM xxvii. 

187 Ib. 545. 

188 See Moffatt, Handbook to the 
Church Hymnary (1927) 149. 

188 FHAM 59. 

100 Ib. 76, DSPD 53 f. 

191 Bridges in Collected Essays 
xxi-xxvi. 53. 

192 On German hymnody the 
English reader may consult 
Catherine Winkworth's charming 
book, Christian Singers in Germany 
(1869) ; the art. on 'Hymns 
(Modern Christian) i. German', 
by J. G. Crippen in HDRE vii. 
28 f. : and that on 'German 
Hymnody', by Dr. Philipp Schaff 
in JDH 412 ff. On the earlier 
period the chief authority is the 
monumental work by Wacker- 
nagel, Das deutsche Kirchenlied von 
der dltesten %eit bis zu Anfang des 
XVII Jahrhmderts, 5 vols. 1864-77. 
On the tunes see J. Zahn, Die 
Melodien der deutschen Evangelischen 
Kirchenlieder, 6 vols. 1889-93 and 
W. Baumker, Das Katholische 
deutsche Kirchenlied in seinem Sing- 
weisen, 4 vols. 1883-1911, for the 
Lutheran and Catholic sides 

198 Johannes Diaconus, Vita 
Gregorii M. ii. 7 (P.L. Ixxv. 91). 

194 Meyers - Lexikon (Leipzig, 
1928), art. 'Otfrid' ix. 191. 

105 Winkworth, op. cit. 28. 

196 DSPD 36. 

197 See art. 'Bohemian Breth- 
ren's Hymnody' in JDH 153 ff. 

198 Ib. 156, 1247. 

199 Letter 698 in Luther, Brief- 
wechsel, bd. 3 (Weimar ed. 1933) 
p. 220. 

200 JDH 322 f. 

201 Crippen in HDRE vii. 29. 

202 FHAM Ixxi. 165. 
a" 8 JDH 963. 

20* Liddon, Life ofPusey i. 299. 

2 s See JDH 454. 

206 Canon Crum's paraphrase 

of Isaiah Ix. in the Winchester Hymn 
Supplement (4) is such an attempt 
and deserves wider use. 

207 Winkworth, op. cit. 202. 

208 DSPD 82. 

209 FHAM 1 75. 

210 Ib. Ixxiv. 

211 See Spitta, life of Bach iii. 

212 FHAM 445. 

213 Ib. Ixxiv. 

214 Ib. 76 f. 

215 On the history of the French 
Psalter see art. 'Psalters (French)' 
in JDH 932 ff. 

216 See Douen, Clement Marol et 
le Psautier huguenot (1878) and 
articles on 'C. Marot and the 
Huguenot Psalms' in Musical 
Times, 1881. 

' 21V Prothero, The Psalms in 
Human Life 1 78 f. 

218 Ib. 

219 Calvin's First Psalter, ed. 
Terry, 1932. 

220 Quoted DSPD 391. 

221 FHAM xliii. 

222 For evidence see JDH 44.. 

223 FHAM xlvi. 

224 Fuller, Church History of 
Britain (Oxford ed. 1845) iv. 73. 

226 Thomas Wilmot, Earl of 
Rochester, Poems (ed. 1926) 106. 

226 FHAM Iviii. 

227 Ib. xl. See also an art. by Dr. 
H?rereinMusicandLetters,]a.n, 1929. 

228 Nicholson, Quires and Places 
where they sing 132. 

229 Overton, Life in the English 
Church, 1660-1714, 186. 

230 DSPD xiv. 

231 Overton, op. cit. 186. 

232 FHAM Ixxx. 

233 j7 or examples see ib. Ixxxi. 

234 See JDH 1022. 

235 FHAM Ixv. 

238 Bede, H. Eccl. bk. iv. ch. 24. 

23 "William of Malmesbury, 
Gesta Pontificum, bk. v. ch. 190 
(Rolls Series ed.), 336. 

238 Comper, Spiritual Songs from 
English MSS. of XlVth to XVIth 
centuries 213, 223 f. 


240 JDH 442 f. 

241 Cranmer, Works ii. 412. 



242 Gee and Hardy, Documents 435. 
243 JDH58off. 

244 Walton, Lives, etc. (Libr. of 
Eng. Classics) 221. 
248 JDH 347, 1289, DSPD xv. 

246 SH 164. 

247 BEH 60. 

248 Ib. 63. 

249 Wood, Athenae Oxonienses 
(ed. Bliss, 1829) iv. 86. 

280 See JDH 61 7 ff., 1659. 
251 Religio Medici, pt. 2, xii. 

282 Letter by R. E. Balfour in 
Church Times, Sept. 17, 1937. 

283 DSPD 27 1. 
254 Ib. 372. 
258 JDH 716 f. 

286 SH 172. 

287 See BEH ch. iii. 108 ff. 

288 Ib. 217. 

359 Quoted ib. 109. 

26 JDH 35 o. 

261 Ib. 1236 ff. 

362 DSPD xvi. 

283 74.317. 

264 Gillman, Evolution of the 
English Hymn 209. 

266 T. Wright, Life of Isaac 
Watts 70. 

266 MofFatt, op. cit. 192. 

367 J. Wesley, Letters (Standard 
ed.) iii. 226 f. 

268 BEH 218. 

269 See articles on 'Methodist 
Hymns' and 'Wesley Family' in 
JDH 726 f, i255ff; also BEH 
ch. v. 219 if. 

270 J. Wesley, Journal (Standard 
ed. by Curnock) i. 475 f. 

271 Ib. ii. 20. 

272 74. ii. 70. 

273 BEH 225. 

274 Ib. 231. 
278 JDH68i. 

276 See Grove's Diet, of Music, 
art. 'C. T. Carter' i. 571. 

277 FHAM Ixxxix. 

278 DSPD 254. 

279 Chappell, Popular Music of 
the Olden Time ii. 669. 

280 DSPD 34. 

281 BEH 247. 

282 Ib. 257. 

283 Ib. 263 ff. 

284 Romaine, An Essay in 
Psalmody (1775) 105. 

288 FHAM 596. 
286 BEH 336 ff. 

28 7 L. Stephen, art. 'Cowper' 
in DNB xii. 397. 

288 Ib. 396. See also David 
Cecil, The Stricken Deer 143. 

289 BEH 340. 

290 Johnson, Works (Oxford 
1825) vol. ix. 221. 

291 In his Directions to the Clergy 

2 , 92 JDH 59 6f. 
283 FHAM xc. 

294 Foundling Hymns (1809) 81. 

295 BEH 351 f. 

296 Quoted ib. 354. 

297 DSPD 48. 
288 BEH 438 f. 
299 Ib. 498. 

soo j Williams, Autobiography 

37 n - 

301 Ib. 36. 

302 Chandler, Hymns of the 
Primitive Church, preface, viii. f. 

303 Newman, Apologia 303 ff. 

304 In Christian Remembrancer 
vol. xviii. 302 ff. 

308 Neale, preface to Mediaeval 
Hymns (2nd ed. 1862), reprinted 
in NCH 5. 

306 Ib. 217 f. 

307 Christian Remembrancer, as 
above, 334 f. 

308 JDH 1287. 

309 Bumpus, Eng. Cathedral 
Music 513. 

310 FHAM ciii. 

Remains of Rev. H. F. Lyte 

(1850) Ii. f. 
312 n,, 

Quoted DSPD 233 f. 

313 FHAM 30. 

314 The account that follows is 
based on FHAM cv. ff. 

315 BEH 510. 

316 W. Davies and H. Grace, 
Music and Worship 192 f. 

317 Bridges, op. cit. 66 n. 

318 FHAM ex. 

319 Bridges, op. cit. 52 n. 

320 Ian Hay, A Safety Match. 

321 DSPD 195 f. 

322 See J. Wesley's Preface 
(1790), quoted JDH 221. 

823 Newman, Hymni Ecclesiae 
(1838) xii. 




i. Iambic, An iambus consists of a short syllable followed by a long, 

-^ , e.g. ad-ore. 

The majority of English hymns are in iambic metre, which is also 
that of the normal type of Latin Office Hymn. In the latter case the 
metre is known as Iambic Dimeter and consists of 4 iambic feet in each 
of the 4 lines of each stanza or verse : 

E.g. Aet-er- | na Christ- | i mun- | er-a etc. 

This metre corresponds to the English Long Measure (L^M.), which 
consists of 4 iambic lines of 8 syllables each ( : 



For why? 

the LORD 

our GOD 

is good ; 

His mer- 

cy is 

for ev- 

-er sure ; 

His truth 

at all 

times firm- 

ly stood 

And shall 

from age 

to age 



Through all 

the chang- 

ing scenes 

In troub- 

le and 

in joy, 

The prais- 

es of 

my GOD 

My heart 

and tongue 


When the quatrain is repeated twice in each verse we have Double 
Long Measure (D.L.M.) as in 'The spacious firmament on high.' 

In Common Measure (C.M.) the number of syllables in line i and 
line 3 is again 8, but in line 2 and line 4 only 6 ( : 

of life, 
shall still 

When the quatrain is repeated we have Double Common Measure 
(D.C.M.), as in 'How shall I sing Thy majesty ? ' 

In Short Measure (S.M.) the number of syllables in lines i, 2, 4 is 6, 
and in line 3, 8 ( : 

with men, 

When the quatrain is repeated we have Double Short Measure 
(D.S.M.), as in 'Crown Him with many crowns'. 

N.B. In L.M., C.M. and S.M. alike a trochee ( --) is frequently 
substituted for an iambus in the first foot of a line : 

E.g. Glor-y I to Thee 1 iny GOD | this night 
T 279 

Our life 
To dwell 
Their patt- 

Who left 
and peace 
in low- 
ern and 

the heav'ns 
to bring, 
li- ness 
their King. 


2. Trochaic. A trochee is a long syllable followed by a short, ^, 

e.g. might-y. 

Some famous Latin hymns are written in the metre called Trochaic 
Tetrameter, consisting of 8 trochaic feet in each line : 

,g. Pan- ge 
Sing, my 




o- si 

sing the 

um cert 
last, the 

-a- min- 


dread af- 


The characteristic later Sequence metre (see p. go) is also trochaic : 

E.g. Lau-da 1 Si-on 1 Sal-va- | tor-em 

Many English hymns are in trochaic metre, the number of syllables 
in a line and the number of lines varying. E.g. 'Jesu, meek and lowly' 
(, 'Rock of ages, cleft for me' ( 7.7) and 'Love Divine, 
all loves excelling' ( 

3. It is impossible here to give a detailed account of the less usual 
metres employed. We confine ourselves to illustrating some of the 
terms used in the text of this book. 

(a) "Feet." An anapaest is ^ "" , a dactyl ^ ^-, a spondee 

(b) Metres. The metre of a number of hymns is anapaestic : 

E.g. Im-mor- | tal, in-vis- | i-ble, GOD | on-ly wise 

In Elegiacs a hexameter is alternated with a pentameter, i.e. a line 
of 6 "feet" with a line of 5 "feet". These "feet" are either dactyls or 
spondees, in accordance with certain rules : 

E.g. Strong in thy | fer-tile ar- | ray 1 1 O | tree of | sweet-ness and) 

Bearing such | new-found | fruit 1 1 mid the green | wreaths of 
Thy | boughs 

In Sapphics 3 long lines are followed by a short : 

E.g. Ah, holy Jesu j | how hast Thou offended, 

That man to judge Thee 1 1 hath in hate pretended ? 
By foes derided, 1 1 by Thine own rejected, 
O most afflicted. 





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Primo dierum omnium ( 
Somno refeclus artubus ( 
Censors paterni luminis 
Rerum creator optime (i 
Nox atra rerum contigit 
Tu Trinitatis Unitas (F) 
Summae Deus dementi 

* Aeterne rerum conditor i 

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Te lucis ante ter 












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Ps. Title 

23 The GOD of love my shep- 
herd is 
The Lord my pasture shall 


The King of love my shep- 
herd is 
34 Through all the changing 

scenes of life 
42 As pants the hart for cooling 


51 Have mercy, Lord, on me 
65 GOD of mercy, GOD of grace 
84 How lovely are Thy dwell- 
ings fair 
O GOD of hosts, the mighty 

Pleasant are Thy courts 

85-6 The Lord will come and not 

be slow 

86 To my humble supplication 

go O GOD, our help in ages past 

100 All people that on earth do 


Before Jehovah's awful 

103 Praise, my soul, the King of 


104 O worship the King 

122 Pray that Jerusalem may 1472 $628 


130 Out of the deep I call *250 

136 Let us with a gladsome mind t53 a $ I2 J c f- 

* 3 8i 
139 O Lord, in me there lieth +605 


Thou, Lord, by strictest 
search hast known 




t93 +653 

G. Herbert 

t49i $656 

J. Addison 

* I 97 t49 J^54 

Sir H. W. Baker 

*2go f 502 $677 

Tate and Brady 

*2 3 8 fsS? $449 


*2i8 t395 + 1 ? 

H. F. Lyte" 
J. Milton 

*2 37 

Tate and Brady 

*240 1469 

H. F. Lyte 

t492 $658 

J. Milton 

tgo $121 
*i65 t45 $59^ 
*i66 {365 $443 

J. Bryan (c. 1620) 
I. Watts 
W. Kethe 

* 5 i6 

I. Watts 

*2g8 f47o $623 

H. F. Lyte 

*i67 1466 $618 

Sir R. Grant 

(based on W. 

Scottish Psalter 


Sir H. W. Baker 
J. Milton 

Sir Philip Sidney 
Tate and Brady 


Ps. Title Reference Author 

147 Hosanna ! music is divine {521 Christopher 


148 Praise the Lord, ye heavens *sg2 J535 +624 Foundling Col- 

adore Him ledion (c.iSoi) 

Praise the Lord of heaven f534 +4*4 T. B. Browne 

150 O praise ye the Lord *3o8 5351 Sir H. W. Baker 



Abelard, 84 

Accentual versification, 36, 28, 32, 

36, 54 

Acclamations, 18, 25 
Acrostic, 26, 36 f., 39, 45, 50 
Adam of St. Victor, go, 209 
Addison,J., 165, 174 
Adeste fideles, 98 
Able, J.R., 115 
Akathistos, 37 
Alcuin, 79 f. 
Aldhelm, 148 

Alexander, G. F., 66, 224, 267 
Alford, H., 219 
Alfred, King, 148 
Alleluia dulce carmen, 73 
Allison's Psalter, 137 
Altar Hymnal, 227 
Ambrose, 50 if., 69 ff., 166 
Amherst papyrus, 25 
Anatolius, 44 

Andernach Gesangbuch, 122 
Andrew of Crete, 41 
Anglo-Genevan psalter, I33f., 


Anglo-Irish cycle, 70, 73 
Antiphonary of Bangor, 66 
Apocalypse, 15 
Apostolic Constitutions, 23 f. 
Arianism, 29 
Arnold, J. H., 75, 238 
" Association," 253, 268 
Athanasius, 29 
Attwood, T., 82 
Auber, H., 220 
Augustine, 2, 29, 47, 51, 155 
Aurelian, 69 
Austin, J., 161, 165, 174 

Bach,J. S., 101, 104, 117, 215, 239 
Baker, H. W., 221 ff. 
Bardesanes, 28 
Baring Gould, S., 226 
Barley's Psalter, 136 
Barnby.J., 225, 227 

Barthelemon, F., 192 

Barton, W., 159 

Basil, 23 

Baxter, R., 164 

Bede, 78, 148 

Benedict, 49, 51, 69 

Benediftus, 13 

Bernard of Morval (?), 85, 210 

Besnault, S., 96 

Beveridge, Bp., 142 

Beza, T., 126 

Bianco da Siena, 99 

Bickersteth, E. H., 227 

Blew, W.J., 220 

Blount, W., 61 

Blume, Fr., 69 ff. 

Bohemian Brethren, 106, 118 

Bonaventura, 86 

Bourgeois, F., 127 f., 130 f., 232 

Brady, N., 142 f. 

Bray, Dr., 142 

Breviary Hymn-cycles, 68 ff. 

Bridges, M., 217 

Bridges, R., 23, 81, 101, 128 f., 

145, 230, 237, 249 
Bright, W., 224 
Bronte, E., 6 
Browne, T., 157, 162 
Bunyan,J., 163 
Byrom.J., 194 

Caedmon, 148 

Gaesarius, 51, 69 

Calvin, 123 f., 127 

Campbell, R., 213 

Campion, T., 154 

Canon, 39 ff. 

Canterbury Hymnal, 71 f. ; 

Psalter, 70 

Carols, 86, 99, 104, 121, 150, 241 
Caswall, E., 206 
Gennick, J., 179, 185 
Chandler, J., 201, 205 
Charity-children, 192 f. 
Charlemagne, 79 f., 102 



Chatfield, A. W.,3of.,2i4 
Cherubic Hymn, 33 
Chesterton, G. K., 238 
Children's hymns, 167, 180, 195, 


Choral Harmony, 215 
Chorale Book, 215 
Chrysostom, 29 f. 
Church and School H. B., 267 
" Church Tunes," 136 ff., 146 f. 
Clarke, J., 14.5 
Claudius, M., 120 
Clausnitzer, T., 114 
Clement of Alexandria, 25 
Clement of Rome, 1 7 
Cluniac Breviary, 94 f. 
Coffin, C., 95 
Collins, H., 217 
Cologne Gesangbuch, 122 
Columba, 67, 71 
Contahia, 34 f. 
Conyers, R., 187 
Cooke, W., 220, 226 
Copeland, W. J., 205 
Corbeil, P. de, 96 
Corpus Christi, 74, 91 f. 
Cosin,J., 158 
Cosmas, 41 f. 
Cosyn's Psalter, 136 
Cotterill, T., 112, 194 f. 
Courteville, R., 144 
Coverdale, Bp., 151 
Cox, Bp. (R.), 132, 146 
Cox, F. E., 214 
Cranmer, Abp., 152 
Croft, W., 144 f. 
Grossman, S., 160 
Criiger,J., 112, 115 

Damon's Psalter, 136 
Darwall, H., 164 
De la Brunetiere, G., 95 
Dearmer, P., 168, 182, 212, 243 f., 


Decius, N., 109 f. 
Des Contes, J. B., 97 
Didache, 16 
Dies irae, 91 f. 
Diognetus, Ep. to, 17 
Divine Companion, 144 
Doddridge, P., 170 
Dodsworth, W., 205 
Donne, J., 156 
Dorotheus, 32 
Douen, 127 

Drese, A., 117 
Dykes, J. B., 222 f. 

Early Christian hymns, 148". 

Ellerton, J., 226 

Elliott, C., 220 

Elpis, 59 

English Hymnal, 236 ff. 

Ennodius, 59 

Ephraem Syrus, 28 

Ephymnion, 36 

Este's Psalter, 136 

Eucharistic Hymnal, 227 

Eucharistic prayer, 16 f. 

Euchologion, 39, 43 

European Psalmist, 233 

Eusebius, 20 

Evangelical hymnody, 186 ff. 

F.B.P., 155 

Faber, F. W., 217 

Filitz, F., 120 

Fletcher, P., 157 

Fortunatus, Venantius, 50, 59 ff., 


Foundery Collection, 177 
Foundling Hospital Colleflion, 192 
Francis, 55, 85 f. 
Franck, J., 114 

French " Church-melodies," 239 
Frere, W. H., n, 50, 69 f., 92, 

H7> 129, 132 f., i37> 139. 180, 

215, 232, 234 
Freylinghausen, J. A., 117 
Fulbert, 82 
Fuller, 134 

Gascoigne, T., 154 
Gauntlett, H. J., 220 
Geistreiches Gesangbuch, 117 
Gellert, C. F., 120 
Genevan Psalter, 125 ff. 
Gerhardt, P., 101, H3f. 
German hymnody, 99 ff. 
Germanus, 43 
Gibbons, O., 157 f., 232 
Gibson, Bp., 191 
Gilding, E., 192 
Gloria in excelsis, 21, 24, 27, 68, 


Gnostic hymns, 21, 28 
Goss,J., 215, 219 



Goudimel, C., 129 
Greek Christian hymns, 14 ff., 
27 ff. 

Pagan hymns, 13 
Gregory of Nazianzus, 30, 32 
Gregory the Great, 64, 67, 71, 102 
Guiet, C., 95 

Hallel, ii 

Harmonia Sacra, 178, 180 

Hart, A.. 146 

Hassler, H. L., 114 

Havergal, F, R., 225 ; W. H., 215 

Haweis, T., 186 

Haydn, F. J., 120 ; M., 120 

Heber,R., ig6f. 

Heermann, J., 112 

Heilige Seelmlust, 122 

Heirmos, 36 f., 39 f, 

Herbert, G., 156, 165, 174 

Heretical hymns, 21, 28 f. 

Herrick, R., 157 

Hilary, 47, 50 

Hill, R., 195 

Holland, H. S., 238 

Holmes, O. W., 237 

Hopkins, J., 130 f., 133, 144 

Horologion, 39, 45 

Hosmer, F. L., 237 

Hour- services, 68 

How, W. W., 225 

Howard, S., 192 

Hrabanus Maurus, 80 

Huntingdon, Countess of, 183 ff. 

Hupton, J., 210 

Hymn, definition of, 2 ff. 

Hymn-pra&ices, 263 ff. 

Hymnal Companion, 227 

Hymnal Noted, 84, 97, 121, 208 f., 


Hymnary, 226 
Hymns, policy regarding, 249 ff. ; 

choice of, 260 ff. 
Hymns Ancient and Modern, 221 ff., 

229 ff. 
Hypopsalma, 19 

Iconoclasm, 34, 38, 40 ff. 
Momela, 34, 43 f. 
Irenaeus, 21 

Irish hymnody (early), 65 
Irons, W.J., 91, 213 
Isidore of Seville, 47, 65 

Jacopone da Todi, 86 

Jerome, 47 

Je$u dulcis memoria, 76, 82 

John of Damascus, 31, 39 f., 41 f. 

John the Deacon, 102 

Johnson, S., 237 

Joseph, G., 122 

Joseph the Hymnographer, 44 

Julian, Ditt. of Hymnology, 92, 249 

Justin Martyr, 1 7, 20 

Keach, B., 166 
Keble, J., 198, 216, 221 
Kelly, T.,J 95 
Ken, T., 30, 161 f. 
Kmdal H. B., 186 
Kethe, W., 133 f., 146, 219 
Kipling, R., 238 
Knapp, W., 145 
Knecht, J. H., 120 
Knorr, C., 117 
Kyrie eleison, 18, 27 

La Feillee, 84 

Lampe,J. F., 178 

Langton, S., Abp., 91 

Latin hymnody, 47 fF., 68 ff. 

Lauda Sion, 91 

Laudi Spirituali, 99 

Laufenburg, H. von, 105 

Lawes, H., 141 

Le Tourneaux, N., 95 

Leisen, 103 

Leisentritt, 122 

Leoni, 181 

Liber Hymnorum, 66 f. 

Litany, 18, 46 

Littledale, R. F., 226 

Lock Hospital Collection, 179, 187, 


Loewen, A. von, 114 
Logan, j., 170 
Lorica, 65 
Lowell, J. R., 237 
Lowenstern, M. A. von, 112 
Luther, M., 100, 107 f. 
Lyra Davidica, 192 
Lyte, H. F., 218, 253 

Madan, M., 179, 187 
Magnificat, 13 
Maintzisch Gesangbuch, 97 
Mant, R., 201 



Marckant,J., 153, 165 

Marot, G., 125 f., 130 

Mason, A. J., 33, 63, 232 ; Jack- 
son, 213 ; John, 164 

Menaea, 38 

Mercer, W., 215 

Methodist hymnody, 171 ff., 184, 

Methodius, 19, 26, 35 ; 45 

Metrical psalmody, tyranny of, 
124, 153 f., i66f., 191, 199 

Metrophanes, 45 

Milman, H. H., 196 f. 

Milton, J., 157 

Mission-hymns, 250 

Monk, W. H., 219, 221 f. 

Monogenes, 34 

Montgomery, J., 185, 194, 215 

Moody and Sankey, 251, 254 

Moorsom, R. M., 214 

Moravians, 118, 1746., 1841". 

More, H., 161 

Murray, F. H., 220 f. 

Neale, J. M., 5, 32, 35, 38 f., 41 ff., 

76, 83, 121, 206 ff. 

Neander, J., 115 

Neo-Gallican breviaries, 93 ff. 

Nepos, 20 

New Version, 142 ff., 191 f., 212 

Newman, J. H., 202 f., 217, 268 

Newton, J., i, 3 ff., 188 f. 

Niceta of Remesiana, 49 

Nicholson, S. H., 139, 178, 263 ff. 

Nicolai, P., in 

Norton, T., 133 

Notker, 88 f. 

Nunc dimittis, 13, 23, 128, 132 

Oakeley, F., 98, 205 

Octoechus, 38, 42 

Ode, 39 

Odes of Solomon, 22 

Old Church Harmony, 215 

Old Version, 129 ff., 153, 191, 212 

Olivers, T., 179, 181, 188 

Olney Hymns, i, 189 f., 217 

Orton, J., 170 

Otfrid, 102 

Ouseley, F. A. G., 222 

Oxford H. B., 241, 256 

Oxford Movement, 198 ff. 

Palmer, R., 237 
Parakletike, 38 

Paris Breviary, 94 f., 200 ff. 

Parker, Abp., 140 

Parry, C. H. H., 222, 230, 

Paschal acclamations, 25, 27 

Patrick, 65 f. 

Paul, St., 3, 11,13 ff., 19, 20 

Paul of Samosata, 21 

Paul the Deacon, 79 

Paulinus, 58 

Pentecostarion, 25, 39, 45 

Peoples Hymnal, 226 

Perronet, E., 186 

Pestel,T., 157 

Petri, Theodoricus, 121 

<Pcos lAapov, 23 

Piae cantiones, 121 

Pietism, 116 ff. 

Pitra, Gdl.,25, 33, 35f.,45 

Plainsong H. B., 234 

Plainsong Hymn-Melodies and Se- 
quences, 234 

Playford, H., 144, 165 ; J., 138, 
147, 158, 161 

Pliny, 20 

Praxis pietatis, 115 

Prid,W., 155 

Primers, 152, 159 

Primitive Monastic Cycle, 69, 73 

Upoaana, 37 

Proses, 89 

Prudentius, 56 f. 

Prys's Psalter, 1 39 

Psalm-tunes, method of perform- 
ance, 139, 145, 171 

Psalmi idiotid, igf., 23, 29 

Psalms, Hebrew, 3, 1 1 f. 

Psalmody, antiphonal, 12 ; re- 
sponsorial, 12, 19 

Psalters, Metrical : French-Swiss, 
125 ff. ; English, 129 ff. ; Scot- 
tish, 146 f. 

Pusey, P., 112 

Ravenscroft's Psalter, 137, 146 f. 

Refrain, 18 f., 26, 28, 30, 36 f. 

Rhyme, 54 

Richard de Caistre, 150 

Riley, T., 192 

Ringwaldt, B., 112 

Rinkart, M., 1 1 1 

Rochester, Lord, 134 

Rolle, R., 149 

Romaine, 186 

Roman Breviary, 93, 202 



Royal Injunctions (1559)) 132, 

St. Gall, 82, 88, 102 

St. Sabas, 41 f. 

Salisbury H. B., 216, 220 

Santtus, 24, 68, 121 

Sandys, G., 141 

Santeuil, de, G., 95 ; J. B., 95 

Sarum Office-Hymns, 73 ff., 203, 

Schemer, J., 116, 122 
Schenck, H., 117 
Schmolck, B., 118 
Schulz,J. A. P., 120 
SchutZjJ.J., 117 
Sedulius, 59 
Sequelae, 88 
Sequence, 88 f. 
Sergius, 37 
Shakespeare, W., 154 
Shaw, M., 238, 245 ; G., 238 
Shirley, W., 186 
Sidney, P., 154 
Simphonia Sirenum, 97 
" Sol-fa," origin of, 80 
Songs of Praise, 161, 242 ff., 258 
Songs o/Syon, 240 f. 
Sophronius, 38 
Spanish hymnody, 48, 56, 65, 74, 


Spener, P., n6f. 
Speratus, P., iogf. 
Stabat mater, 86, 92 
Stanford, G. V., 178, 225, 230, 


Sternhold, T., 129, 133, 144 
Stichera, 34, 43 f. 
Stone, S. J., 224 
Strasburg Psalter, 127, 132 
Strong, T. B., 241 
Studium, 41, 43 f. 
Sullivan, A., 226 
Syllabic structure of Eastern 

hymns, 28, 36, 39 
Synesius, 30 f. 
Syriac hymnody, 28, 32 

Tallis, T., i4of. 
Tate, N., 142 f. 
Tauler, J., 104 

Te decet laus, 24, 27 

Te Deum, 48 f. 

Tennyson, i 

Tersteegen, G., 118 

Tertullian, 19, 21 , 

Theoctistus, 44 

Theodore, 43 

Theodulph, 80, 83 

Theotokion, 39 

Thomas a Kempis, 87 

Thomas Aquinas, 74, 82, 92 

Thomas of Celano, 91 

Thring, G., 226 

Tisserand, J., 87 f. 

Toplady, A. M., 187 

Tra&arian hymnody, 198 ff. 

Translation of Latin hymns, 75 f. 

Triodion, 38 

Trisagion, 24, 27 

Troparia, 32 ff., 39 ff. 

Tropes, 87 f., 121 

Tropologia, 34 ff. 

Tunes Annext, 180 

Tye, G., 136 

Unitasfralrum, 106, 118 

Vaughan, H., 157 

Vaughan Williams, R., 64, 141, 

163, 225, 238, 245 
Veni Creator, 81 f., 152, 159 
Veni santte Spirifus, 91 f., 98 
Veni, veni, Emmanuel, 97 
Vexilla Regis, 60 
Vitlimae paschali, 89, 92 
Victorian hymn-tunes, 120, 223, 

229 f., 244, 253 f. 

Walther, J., no 

Watts, I., i, i66ff., 172, 184, 266 

Webb, B., 208, 226 

Webbe, S., 98 

Weisse, M., 107, no 

Welsh tunes, 239 

Wesley, C., 2, i73ff., 225, 234, 

258, 267 

Wesley, J., 118, 161, 171 ff., 187 
Wesley, S., sen., 143, 173 f. ; jun., 

Wesley, S. (musician), 114, 215 



Wesley, S. S., 224, 233 Wordsworth, G., 224. ; E., 108 

White, G. C., 220 f. Wotton, H., 154. 

Whitefield, G., 174, 183 

Whittingham, W., 131, 135 

Williams, I., 199 f. Tattendon Hymnal, 231, 237, 250 

Winkworth, C., 103, 113, 214 f. 

Wipo, 89 

Wither, G., 157 Zinzendorf, N. L., Count, 117 f., 

Woodford, J. R., 92, 213 175 

Woodward, G. R., 104, 121, 240 f. Zwingli, 123 



A great and mighty, 43 
A living stream, 164 
A safe stronghold, 108 
Abide with me, 218, 252 
Again the Lord s, 87 
Ah, holy Jesu, 112 
All creatures of, 86 
All glory, laud, 83 
All hail the power, 186 
All my hope, 1 16 
All people that, 133 
All prophets hail, 81 
All things bright, 224 
Alleluia ! hearts, 224 
Alleluia ! song, 73 
Angels from, 185 
And now, O Father, 224 
Another year, 58 
Around the throne, 210 
Art thou weary, 45 
As now the sun's, 96, 201 
As pants the hart, 144 
At the Gross, 86, 202 
At the Lamb's, 213 
Author of life, 178, 182 
Ave Maria, 216 
Awake, my soul, 162 
Awake, our souls, 169 

Be Thou my, 200 

Before the ending, 70, 72 

Behold, the Bridegroom, 45 

Behold, the great, 157 

Behold the sun, 158 

Blessed are they, 96 

Blessed city, 74 

Blessed feasts, 92 

Blessed Jesu, 118 

Blest are the pure, 216 

Blest Martyr, 58 

Bread of the world, 129, 197 

Bride of Christ, 96 

Brief life is, 85 

Bright the vision, 202 
Brightest and, 197 

Captains of the, 95 
Children of the, 185 
Christ hath a, 170 
Christ is gone up, 210 
Christ is our, 201 
Christ, the fair, 81 
Christ the Lord, 107, 215 
Christ, who knows, 164 
Christ, whose glory, 115, 177 
Christ will gather, 118 
Christian, dost thou, 41 
Christian, seek not, 220 
Christians, awake, 194 
Christians, to the Paschal, 89 
City of GOD, 237 
City of Peace, 155 
Come down, O Love, 99 
Come, Holy Ghost, 81 
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, 81 
Come, Holy Ghost, Eternal, 81 
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls, 81, 


Come, Holy Ghost, Who ever, 203 
Gome, let us join, 169 
Come, my soul, 190 
Come, my Way, 156 
Come, O Thou Traveller, 180 
Come, pure hearts, 91, 213 
Come rejoicing, 89 
Come, see the, 196 
Come sing, ye, 91, 213 
Come, thou bright, 117 
Come, Thou Holy, 91 
Come, Thou Redeemer, 52, 69 
Come ye , . . anthem, 116, 210 
Come ye ... strain, 43 
Come ye thankful, 220 
Cometh sunshine, 114 
Commit thou all, 114, 182 
Conquering kings, 96, 201 



Creator of the earth, 51, 69 f. 
Creator of the world, 96 
Creator Spirit, 81 
Crown Him, 217 

Dearest Jesu, 114 
Deck thyself, 1 14 
Disposer supreme, 95, 200 
Draw nigh, 66 
Drop, drop, 157 

Earth hath many, 58 

Father, most high, 58, 72 
Father of spirits, 58 
Fierce was the, 44 
Firmly I believe, 204 
For all the Saints, 225 
For all Thy Saints, 202 
For ever with, 185 
For thee, O dear, 85 
From east to west, 59 
From glory to glory, 33 
From Greenland's, 197 
From highest heaven, 127 

Gentle Jesus, 180 
Give me the wings, 169 
Glorious things, 120, 190 
Glory and honour, 83 
Glory to Thee, 162, 264 
GOD from on high, 95 
GOD moves in, 190 
GOD of all grace, 46 
GOD of mercy, 219 
GOD of our fathers, 238 
GOD that madest, 197 
Great GOD, what, 109, 112 
Great Shepherd, 190 

Hail, festal, 63 
Hail, gladdening, 23, 214 
Hail, glorious, 161 
Hail the day, 177 
Hail thee, festival, 63 
Hail to the Lord's, 115, 185 
Hark ! a thrilling, 206 
Hark ! hark, my, 217 
Hark, my soul, how, 161 
Hark, my soul, it is, 191 
Hark the glad, 1 70 
Hark ! the herald, 177 

Hark, the sound, 224 
Have mercy, Lord, 144 
He that is down, 163 
He wants not friends, 164 
He Who would, 163 
Hearts at Christmas, 114 
How are Thy servants, 165 
How bright those, 169 
How brightly, 1 1 1 
How shall I sing, 164 
How sweet the name, 190 
How vain the cruel, 59 
How wonderful is, 90 

I bind unto, 66 

I could not do, 225 

If there be, 87 

In days of old, 43 

In royal robes, 91, 213 

In the hour, 157 

In the Lord's atoning, 86 

Jerusalem, my happy, 154 
Jerusalem on high, 160 
Jerusalem the golden, 85 
Jesu, grant me this, 97 
Jesu, Lover, 177 
Jesu, meek and, 217 
Jesu, my Lord, 217 
Jesu ! name all, 44 
Jesu, our hope, 72 
Jesu, the very, 76, 82, 206 
Jesu, the Virgins', 52, 71 
Jesu, the world's, 72 
Jesus Christ is risen, 192 
Jesus lives, 120, 214 
Jesus shall reign, 1 69 
Jesus, still lead, 117, 118 
Jesus, these eyes, 237 
Jesus, where'er, 191 
Joy and triumph, 91, 128 
Judge eternal, 238 
Just as I am, 220 

Kindly spring, 190 
King of glory, 115, 156 

Lead, kindly, 204 
Let all mortal, 33 
Let all the world, 156 
Let hearts awaken, 72 
Let our choirs, 45 
Let saints on, 179 



Let the round world, 202 
Let thine example, 80 
Let us with, 157 
Lift up thyself, 31 
Lift up your heads, 185 
Light's abode, 87 
Light's glittering, 70, 132 
Lo ! from the desert, 96 
Lo ! GOD is here, 119, 182 
Lo ! golden light, 58, 71 
Lo ! He comes, 1 78 
Lo ! round the, 195 
Lo ! the blest, 62 
Lord, in this Thy, 200 
Lord, in Thy name, 216 
Lord, it belongs, 164 
Lord Jesus, think, 31, 214 
Lord of all being, 237 
Lord of our life, 112 
Lord, Thy word, 222 
Lord, to our humble, 46 
Love Divine, 1 78 

Martyr of GOD, 71 

Most glorious Lord, 154 

My GOD, and is, 1 70 

My GOD, I love Thee, 97, 206 

My GOD, how, 217 

My Lord, my Life, 1 70 

My song is love, 161 

My soul, there is, 157 

Never weather-beaten, 1 54 
New every morning, 216 
No coward soul, 6 
Now GOD be, 107 
Now, my soul, 95 
Now, my tongue, 92 
Now thank we, in, 214 
Now that the, 203 

O Christ, Who art, 69 f., 206 
O come, all ye, 98, 205 
O come and mourn, 217 
O come, O come, 97 
O Faith of England, 127 
O food of men, 97 
O for a closer, 191 
O for a thousand, 177 
O gladsome Light, 23, 128 
O glorious King, 71 
O GOD of Bethel (Jacob), 170 
O GOD of earth, 238 

O GOD of hosts, 144 

O GOD, our help, 5, 169 

O GOD, our Maker, 149 

O GOD, the joy, 96 

O happy band, 45 

O heavenly Jerusalem, 200 

O help us, 197 

O Holy Spirit, 96 

O Jerusalem the, 84 

O King enthroned, 45 

O Lord, how joyful, 96 

O Lord, in me, 154 

O Lord, turn not, 1 53 

O love, how deep, 87, 208 

O Love, Who formedst, 116 

O most merciful, 197 

O Paradise, 217 

O praise ye, 222 

O sacred Head, 113 

O Saviour, Lord, 72 

O sinner, lift, no 

O sons and, 87, 88 

O Spirit of the, 185 

O Splendour of, 52, 69 ff. 

O Thou, before, 178 

O Thou from Whom, 186 

O Thou in all, 237 

O Unity of, 45 

O what the[ir] joy, 84 

O Word Immortal, 34. 

O Word of GOD, 95, 200 

O worship the King, 219 

Of the Father's, 57, 121 

On Jordan's, 95, 201 

Once in royal, 224 

Once, only, 224 

Once to every, 237 

Our blest Redeemer, 220 

Our Father's home, 87 

Palms of glory, 185 
Peace, perfect, 227 
Pleasant are Thy, 219 
Poor soul, the, 1 54 
Praise, my soul, 219 
Praise, O praise, 157 
Praise, O Sion, 91 
Praise the Lord ! ye, 192 
Praise to the Holiest, 204 
Praise to the Lord, 116, 215 
Put thou thy, 114, 182 

Receive, O Lord, 29 
Rejoice ! The Lord, 178 



Ride on, 197 
Rock of ages, 187 
Round me falls, 1 1 7 

Safe home, 45 
Saviour, again, 226 
Saviour, and can it, 178 
Saviour eternal, 89 
See the destined, 202 
Servant of GOD, 58, 72 
Sing a song, 154 
Sing Alleluia, 74 
Sing, my tongue, 62 
Sing praise to GOD, 117 
Sing to GOD, 90 
Sing we all, 82 
Sing we triumphant, 78, 208 
Sion's daughters, sons, 91 
Soldiers who are, 96 
Songs of praise, 185 
Spring has now, 121 
Stand up and, 185 
Stars of the morning, 45 
Sun of my soul, 216 
Sweet flow'rets, 58 
Sweet Saviour, in thy, 44 
Sweet the moments, 186 

Teach me, my GOD, 156 

Ten thousand times, 220 

The advent of our, 95 

The Church's one, 224 

The day is past, 44 

The day of Resurrection, 39, 43 

The day Thou gavest, 226 

The duteous day, 105, 114 

The earth, O Lord, 210 

The eternal gifts, 52, 70, 71 

The foe behind, 121 

The GOD of Abraham, 181 

The GOD of love my, 156 

The GOD Whom earth, 64 

The great forerunner, 79 

The Head that, 196 

The heavenly Child, 95, 201 

The holy Son, 161 

The hymn for, 79 

The King of love, 222 

The king, O GOD, 128 

The Lamb's high, 70 

The Lord and King, 44 

The Lord is risen, 196 

The Lord my pasture, 165 

The Lord of heaven, 158 

The Lord will come, 157 

The merits of the, 71 

The night is come, 157, 162 

The Royal banners, 60 

The Son of GOD goes, 197 

The Son of Man from, 95 

The spacious firmament, 165 

The strain upraise, 89, 209 

The strife is o'er, 97 

The sun is sinking, 97 

The voice that, 216 

The winged herald, 58, 71 

The Word of GOD, 92 

The world is very, 85 

Thee, O Christ, 81 

Thee we adore, 92 

Thee will I sing, 129 

There is a book, 216 

There is a fountain, 187, 191 

There is a green hill, 224 

There is a land, 169 

This is the day, 169 

They come, GOD'S, 213 

Thou hallowed, 43 

Thou hidden Love, 119, 182 

Thou, Lord, by, 144 

Thou, Lord, hast, 45 

Thou wast, O GOD, 164 

Through all the changing, 144 

Through the day, 196 

Thy Kingdom come ! on, 237 

Thy way, not mine, 6 

To GOD, enthroned, 89 

To GOD with heart, 158 

Turn back, O man, 135 

Viftim Divine, 1 78 
Virgin-born, we, 129, 197 

Wake, O wake, 1 1 1 
Welcome, morning, 63 
We plough the, 120 
We sing the praise, 196 
What cause, 95 
What star is this, 96 
What sweet of life, 43 
When at Thy footstool, 219 
When all Thy mercies, 165 
When GOD of old, 216 
When I survey, 169 
When our heads, 197 
While shepherds, 143, 165 
Who are these, like, 117, 214 



Wilt Thou forgive, 156 Ye clouds and, 58, 71 

With golden, 59 Ye holy angels, 164 

With solemn faith, 1 78 Ye servants of the, 1 70 

Ye watchers and, 122 
Yesterday with, 91 
Ye choirs of new, 82, 213 You that have spent, 154 



510 1 Phillips 


_Hynttictdy,._pitst_fiBd present